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Full text of "Sea rhymes"

I 



PS 3545 
,R3 S4 
1894 
Copy 1 




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SEA RHYMES 



ernest Wright 



CONTENTS 

i. Digger's Luck 

2. honeywells 

3. Legend of the Tidal River Lea 



COMPLETE STORIES 



*\ 



P MAY 10 1894 

NEW YORK Hl/kH^) *& 



TROW DIRECTORY, PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING CO. 
201-213 East Twelfth Street 

1894 









Copyright, 1894, by 
ERNEST WRIGHT 



PREFACE 

I, the Rhymer, graduated from the rudest of the 
rabble, 
E'en the Tar, domesticated in a sphere which 
tallies not, 
Proficient notwithstanding, nor disqualified to gab- 
ble 
To the courteous a " Salve," vice versa " Go to 

pot," 
Caring little if the others ever notice it or not. 

Who stealeth an example thus is innocent of rob- 
bery; 

So far extremes may meet, it is desirable they 
should ; 
Hence " Salve," and the rule is true of egotistic 
snobbery, 

Which, thornlike, crackles audibly, thence " Go 
to pot " is good, 

If awkward, in this weary world of rugged rock 
and mud. 

Being crippled in my flippers by a ruling prov- 
idential, 
A dispensation greeted with a philosophic scowl, 
Yet having fared famously in every essential, 



4 PREFA CE 

And deeming gratitude debased by sycophantic 

howl, 
I garrulously register my tribute with a growl. 

Unabashed by accident, an ignominious glory 
Halowise and misty, o'er the puddle where I 
sink, 

And a heart enlarged by humbug, so I meditate a 
story 

Of a chain of circumstances with an odd defec- 
tive link, 

Now seeking prosy utterance by way of printer's 
ink. 

If there be any merit, let it fall where it is due, 
On the unseen hand of Providence, from whom 
it surely strayed, 
The errors are my property — a legacy to rue, 
My conscience is unhardened by the exercise of 

trade, 
And he who buys may criticise, no matter what 
he paid. 

I have an ancient pedigree, for which I see no use, 
And data for events to make a condemnation 
grim ; 
That the bilious tongue of misery may wag exceed- 
ing loose, 
Or a wiser brain enlighten with a scientific vim, 
And may Providence enable me to do as much 
for him. 



SEA RHYMES 



DIGGER'S LUCK 

'Twas in Rio de Janeiro, in the year eight-six, 
On board a vessel chartered for the service of 
the mail, 
That I found myself, one starry night, where sea- 
men love to mix 
And common fellowship ignores the law of social 

scale, 
Where the fragrance of tobacco adds a gusto to 
the tale. 

We were anchored in the centre of that celebrated 

harbor — 
The captain feared the deadly exhalations of the 

town ; 
The chief mate and second, with the bo's'n and the 

barber, 
A very decent lot of fellows, hearty, strong, and 

brown, 
After supper gathered forward on the hawser 

flemished down. 



6 SEA RHYMES 

There were passengers aboard on the way to 
Buenos Ayres, 
An old Australian digger and a pair from Erin's 
isle; 
Alongside in the barges were the niggers working 
near us, 
Rattling and battling, and yelling all the while, 
Who at intervals, in oddly tuneful chorus, drew 
a smile. 



The crew were all Norwegian, so of course they 

hung together, 
Apart from where our party talked the prospects 

of the trip, 
Made political surmises, or deplored the humid 

weather, 
But no one rose to spin a yarn — the bo's'n had 

the grip, 
And who shall dare to beard the champion liar 

of a ship ? 



The doctor casually gave a favorable chance, 

By speaking of a queer fish he caught the trip 
before, 
Mottled like a leopard ; but the oddest circum- 
stance 
Was the finding in its intestines a bit of silver ore, 
For the doctor had dissected it, and sent the 
skin ashore. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 7 

The barber said 'twas possible to train a fish for 
profit, 
A notion born of opium, at which we gave a snig- 
ger. 

The frosty haired Australian thought very little of 

it, 
But squatting down and smoking in the fashion 

of the digger, 
Proceeded to surround the doctor's story by a 

bigger. 

"In eighteen-forty-four," said he, " when mining in 
Australia, 

At Bony Ridge, a settlement of not the best re- 
pute 
Its larrikins were desperate, the diggings half a 
failure, 

And citizens who strayed were blest with eye 
and ear acute — 

Night or day the custom of the people was to 
shoot. 

" I had quarrelled with my sweetheart, either num- 
ber five or six, 
And feeling lacerated in my vanity or pride, 
Had started for the diggings to elude her siren 
tricks, 
Thinking I had seen her worst. Appearance 

must have lied, 
I have sadly found since we were matrimonially 
tied. 



8 SEA RHYMES 

" Hustled by the emigrant of every hole and corner 

Of the universe, I hunted up a decent-looking 

chum, 

And while we stuck together 'twas unhealthy for 

the scorner, 

And we panned out pretty even, after buying 

bread and rum, 
Likewise, though the life was hard, we revelled in 
it some. 



" Mornings, when the head was big, the ocean lay 

quite handy, 

So he and I were often in the water for a swim. 

His name was Enoch Doxey, just a little of the 

dandy, 

But a thoroughbred in principle, if fashioned 

rather slim," 
And the old man's voice was husky, and the 
snappy eyes grew dim. 

" Those days, a swim was something, for the 
gentleman from China, 
Who ran the little laundry where the public 
wash was done, 
Had been accused of leprosy by some impulsive 
miner, 
Who insisted on his treatment with a flourish of 

his gun, 
So they hung him on a gum-tree — he was cured 
in the sun. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 9 

" A sailor-boy was Enoch, in a suit of navy blue, 
I was clad in canvas slops, and none too much 
of those ; 
We wore them ashore, and when in the water too, 
Which was purifying — none of us possessed a 

change of clothes 
But influential men, and how the cemetery 
knows. 

" One morning," he continued, " we were out a fair 

distance, 
Near a lonely rock that jutted up just opposite 

the beach, 
When without a moment's warning or a chance 

to lend assistance, 
Poor Enoch disappeared. With a strident, 

chopped-off screech 
I made the rock, a dozen hungry sharks in easy 

reach. 



" Darting back and forward, with the dorsal fin 
protruding, 
Or launching downward rapidly and passing out 
of sight, 
The number never lessened — they were evidently 
brooding 
On the scurvy trick of which I had been guilty 

in my fright, 
With a grudge against the balker of a healthy 
appetite. 



IO SEA RHYMES 

" And, boys, they hung around that rock from 
early morn till dark, 
The torrid sun extracting all the moisture from 
my hide. 
I had left my pipe ashore, so I missed the mystic 
spark, 
A fierce thirst consuming me and partially fried, 
Those hungry-looking monsters circling round 
me greeny eyed. 

" Night-time came, when moon and stars shed 

down a silver twinkle, 
The ripple of the ocean flashed a million jewels 

back ; 
Not a chance to sneak away — an oily, gliding 

wrinkle, 
Where phosphorescent moving patches never 

ceased to wear and tack, 
Like swagmen waiting round a station door for 

their whack. 

" Morning came, and all that day I lay without a 

motion — 
I might as well have danced a jig — they never 

moved a jot, 
And darkness settled down once more across the 

grand old ocean — 
A phrase which then occurred to me as idiotic 

rot, 
But circumstances often alter phrases, do they 

not?" 



DIGGER'S LUCK II 

We cheerfully assented, for the yarn was interest- 
in^" • 

The simple-hearted Mac and unsophisticated 
wife 
Murmured, " Heaven help his soul ! " but nothing 
more protesting, 

We listened to the recital, conjecture running 
rife 

As to how the hardy sinner got ashore with his 
life. 

" Again the blazing orb of day sank redly in the 

heavens, 
Midnight came on leaden feet, but lo ! a sudden 

change. 
The sharks around my refuge were at sixes or at 

sevens, 
And then I heard our old familiar hail at pistol 

range, 
And Enoch Doxey's face loomed up, but pale 

and somehow strange. 

" Whether 'twas the glamour of the moonlight fall- 
ing brightly, 

Or spell of pure madness, I'll not venture to as- 
sert, 
But there was Enoch with a nymph, her shoulders 
gleaming whitely, 

Gliding through the wave. She had no bodice 
to her skirt. 

He was naked, so I said, 'Say, partner, where's 
your shirt ? ' 



12 SEA RHYMES 

" Ere answering he chose a crevice in the rock that 

suited, 
And placed his silent partner in an attitude of 

ease. 
I saw with speechless wonder how the two young 

fools saluted, 
And waddled awkwardly along, as walking on 

their knees, 
And her hair was simply lovely as it floated on 

the breeze. 

" She bowed with most bewitching grace and held 

her head erect, 
Waiting while poor Enoch spun the yarn of what 

had passed, 
Though after what had happened there was little 

to expect, 
And I beg to state respectfully that I was much 

aghast, 
For their style (or lack) of dress appeared to me 

a little fast. 

" Then Enoch said : ' You recollect, I went below 
the water, 

My yell was choked in bubbles as I sank beneath 
the wave, 
Where I met with Mrs. Doxey, this young lady, 
Neptune's daughter, 

Who saved me from the sharks in style excep- 
tionally brave, 

And also from the horror of a cold and muddy 
grave. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 1 3 

" ' By virtue of hypnotic power she laid me cata- 
leptic ; 

All but thought suspended, there I lay upon the 
reef. 
Friend, you stare ; in such things I also was a 
sceptic. 

All my preconceived ideas came suddenly to 
grief, 

What I've seen these last three days would stag- 
ger all belief. 

" « Firstly, she produced a knife of ominous dimen- 
sions, 

Swam beneath a plant nearby, and left me there 
alone, 
And when a shark came swimming up with sinister 
intentions, 

She watched it swallow both my legs, and 
crunching flesh and bone, 

Which caused a dull sensation like the crackling 
of stone. 

" ' When nearly half-devoured, tho' the brute had 
room for more 
The mermaid darted out, and carved away the 
ugly head, 
Splicing veins and arteries, suppressed the flow of 
gore, 
Joining all the tendons as they naturally led, 
And sewed the edges neatly, with her hair for 
the thread. 



14 SEA RHYMES 

" ' Splitting up the tail, secured a leg in either sec- 
tion, 

Which by some healing magnetism grafted very 
soon. 
Thus I lay for half a day, when, making an inspec- 
tion, 

She loosed me from my lethargy, a truly wel- 
come boon, 

Though I woke in thirty fathoms by the glim- 
mer of the moon. 



" ' Another shark who came along, with enterpris- 
ing features, 
Nibbled speculatively my neck, but she, alert, 
Distinguished it forever from its ugly fellow-crea- 
tures, 
Delivering a vicious cut which evidently hurt, 
As it lost no time in leaving, though it tore away 
my shirt. 



" ' Presently I felt my strength returning by de- 
grees, 
Nursed with all the lingering devotion of a 
mother ; 
The fish amalgamated with my lacerated knees, 
The breathing apparatus worked as well as any 

other, 
Or otherwise, you know, beneath the water we 
should smother.' " 



DIGGER'S LUCK I 5 

The digger said : " I waded in and felt around the 
junction, 

Altho' his skin was clammy, and I got my 
trousers wet ; 
" But there it was, a half-healed ridge," continued 
he with unction ; 

" And Enoch then objected, saying it was tender 
yet, 

So I had to get aboard the rock again, to my re- 
gret. 

" ' So,' Enoch said, ' when strong enough to use my 
novel rudders, 
I wandered round and saw the sights, or with 
this lady tarried 
(A loose expression which provoked some comfort- 
able shudders), 
Until by love and gratitude our feelings were so 

harried 
That we went to Father Neptune, and were hon- 
orably married. 

" ' They wedded us last night, upon a sunken man- 
o'-war — 
A little way due north from here she foundered 
in a blow ; 
Her hold is full of canvas bags, and weighty bags 
they are, 
Seized with wire and leaden seals where royal 

markings show, 
But what may be inside them I'll be jiggered if 
I know.' 



1 6 SEA RHYMES 

" He should have said ' be chegoed ' in that vivid 
form of speech, 
Referring to an insect which, tho' very small 
and black, 
Adheres to the human epidermis like a leech, 
Burrowing beneath it with a diabolic knack, 
And leaving some severe inflammation in its 
track. 

"'All round the reef and wreck is plenty paying 

mud — 
I picked a fairish nugget up, and brought it on 

for proof.' 
Saying which, he passed it out. I found the sample 

good, 
But when I passed it back to him, he waved his 

hand aloof, 
And here it is " — the digger passed it out for our 

behoof. 

" Possibly I dreamed it all, but there is the nugget, 

Identically same as that presented by my friend, 

If otherwise, I really don't remember when I dug 

it, 

All our store the night before had come unto an 

end — 
We generally rioted while dust was there to 
spend." 

When all had seen the curio, he put it in his 
pocket, 
Resuming the narration of this singular affair. 



DIGGER'S LUCK \J 

(The barber bought it afterwards to make a ladies' 

locket, 
And presented to a widow, with a lover's knot 

in hair.) 
" No doubt of it," the digger said, " I must have 

had it there. 

" Enoch told me how they lived, and what they had 

for food, 
Spoke of certain dangers mermaid people should 

avoid, 
Told me things I dare not ask for fear of seeming 

rude, 
Which the wife not understanding did not seem 

a whit annoyed, 
And summed up their existence as contentment 

unalloyed. 

" ' My wife and I,' said he, ' converse by some mag- 
netic lingo, 
Though when we reach the upper air I try to 
teach her this. 
I have given her instructions and she's picking up, 
by Jingo ! ' 
And Enoch looked so radiant with pride and pure 

bliss 
That the pretty little mermaid murmured musi- 
cally, ' Yiss.' 

" ' We have no money, therefore no treacherous 
rascality, 
No social law, so that we never hear of actions rude ; 



1 8 SEA RHYMES 

We have no vices, hence remains our unimpaired 

vitality ; 
Total lack of dress has banished snob or skinny 

dude, 
And we have the choice of all the sea to forage 

in for food. 

" 'And we were on our honeymoon when, struck 

by one idea, 
We changed our course and steered back toward 

this sunken rock, 
Put the sharks to death, or flight, discovered you 

were here, 
And shall both be much delighted to escort you 

to the dock, 
If you think your nerves sufficiently recovered 

from the shock.' 

" Assisted by the pair of them, I safely swam ashore, 
Where Enoch shook my hand, and said, ' Fare- 
well, my trusty chum, 
Unless you should be drowned at sea, we meet 
again no more.' 
But waiting while I rummaged out a hidden jug 

of rum, 
We drank the farewell snifter until grief was 
rendered dumb. 

" The last I saw of Enoch, why, he was not griev- 
ing much, 
His bride was towing him to sea, his tails refused 
to crimp ; 



DIGGER'S LUCK 1 9 

In hand he held a trident, trying to use it as a 
crutch, 
As the pain in what were legs produced the feel- 
ing of a limp, 
Or impotently jabbing at some inoffensive shrimp. 

" Picking up the jug, I started homeward by and by, 

But ere I took the lonely road which led toward 

the tent, 

I have no shame to tell you that a tear stood in my 

eye, 

And I took the belts and weapons that were hid 

before we went 
From the ken of prowling biped of felonious in- 
tent. 

" Indeed my stores had suffered. I had lost a spare 
cloth, 
A powder can had evidently' offered up a spoil ; 
Things were tossed and tumbled round, which 
made me very wroth 
With tramping scamps who never spin or follow 

honest toil. 
Tis a mercy to amalgamate such rubbish with 
the soil. 

" But I baked the fatted damper, made the tea, and 
broiling meat, 
The way it disappeared would have made your 
steward quail, 



20 SEA RHYMES 

Slept like moral justice, which is something rare 

and sweet — 
Remember that I had no sleep when on that 

rocky jail — 
And when I woke 'twas afternoon, and blew a 

living gale. 

" Driving down the tent-pegs hard, I sauntered to 
the beach, 
Noticing a drift of spars and rigging there and 
here, 
Admiring the shelly growth encrusted thick on 
each — 
Barnacles and oyster-shells, with odd subaqueous 

gear; 
Evidently deeper growth than any growing near. 

" Remembering what Enoch dropped about a sunk- 
en vessel — 

Which Neptune used as chapel or a rendezvous 
for pleasure, 
Where mermaid fair or merman bold could gayly 
swim or wrestle, 

With the innocent abandon of unutterable leis- 
ure — 

Whose hold was bunged up to the hatch with 
bloated bags of treasure. 

" Here I found a topsail yard, and farther on a gaff, 
A tangled heap of twisted shrouds all thick with 
fossil crust, 



DIGGER'S LUCK 21 

The handle of a parasol, which somehow made me 

laugh, 
Bolts and iron trappings, eaten badly by the rust, 
The woodwork either petrified or falling into 

dust. 

" Presently I saw a plank half hidden by the sand, 
Which once had been elaborately carven, one 
could tell, 
Though part of it was battered off by friction with 
the strand. 
There were certain letters in relief, occurring 

parallel, 
Which I puzzled out as ' Bull-dog,' after study 
ing a spell. 

" By dint of some exertion, I contrived to hack the 
log, 
Obliterating every mark. Then, plunging in the 
scrub, 
Proceeded to the diggings, where I shot a native 
dog, 
Also a ruffian in my tent, while burgling my tub, 
After filling up his worthless hide with valuable 
grub." 

The doctor eyed the digger with an air of interest, 
Remarking that the latter was a questionable 

feat. 
But the digger called it justice, and, moreover, of 

the best, 



22 SEA RHYMES 

For, he argued, idle bones assist the land to grow 

the wheat 
With other necessaries for the workingman to 

eat. 

" He never knew what hit him," he continued with 
a grin, 
" And I was only mourner, for I dug his narrow 
bed ; 
I searched his pockets, previous to tumbling him 
in, 
When I blundered on a nugget from the grave, 

so that, instead, 
I dropped him down a barren shaft — 'twas lucky 
he was dead. 

" Poor Enoch ! He and I had suffered many a 
hungry pang, 
As we lay in bed undreaming of the luck be- 
neath the floor ; 
And had it been reported now to members of the 
gang, 
My chance of ever profiting was likely to be 

poor, 
Especially as I had helped to wipe out three or 
four. 

" Fortune smiled on me that day, for with a single 
pan 
I gathered in more golden pay than for a year 
gone, 



DIGGER'S LUCK 23 

Which proves that he who kicks against an evil is 

a man, 
And Providence will see his luck is second unto 

none, 
Providing he survives ; if not, we mourn him as 

one. 

" Nugget after nugget went to swell my golden 
hoard 

To quite enough to settle on, and live a life of 
ease. 
But haunted by the vision of the treasure sunk 
aboard 

Poor Enoch's man-o'-war, I dreamed of more 
than bread and cheese, 

As who would not, whose future promised can- 
vas-back and peas ? 

" Later on the pocket failed, so, making for a bank, 
I tried to boom the city with my treasure-hunt- 
ing spec, 
Was jeered unanimously as a visionary crank, 
Whose most poetic yarn of mermaids a la bare 

neck 
Was pretty, but improbable as, say, the sunken 
wreck. 

" Here I saw my fickle maid, and being reconciled, 
Discovered that a woman may be wonderfully 
dear, 
As artful as ' Old Harry,' or as artless as a child, 



24 SEA RHYMES 

When she sized up my misfortune with a sym- 
pathetic tear, 

And advised me to return to Bony Ridge and 
persevere. 

" So, starting in alone, I bought a modern diving 

ri g> 
A patent boat, in numbered sections, perfect in 

their fit, 
Stores, ammunition, tools, to either build or dig, 
Hiring five adventurers before the party quit, 
With horses and a wagon to convey the heavy 

kit. 

" To cross a hundred miles of bush infested by the 
black, 

Armed with spear and waddv, or the mystic 
boomerang, 
Which flies in such a manner that it circles whiz- 
zing back, 

And once I followed up its queer gyration with 
a bang, 

Which added one more bogie to the spirits of 
the gang. 

" The black believes in spirits, be it ghost or alco- 
holic — 
The latter kind is coveted, the former greatly 
feared — 

So after dark he hugs the fire with superstitious 
colic, 



DIGGER'S LUCK 2$ 

And many an angry squatter, when his sheep or 

beef were speared, 
Has shot them thus like vermin, till the debt was 

amply cleared. 

" A rather curious process is a native liquor-mak- 
ing. 
Sooty lubras evolute the grog between their 
jaws, 
Which product, when fermented well, would set 
the stomach aching, 
If an elephant partook of it ; but not the black's, 

because 
His paunch is not amenable to ordinary laws. 

" In dietary habit he is subject to vagary, 

The product of the bunya-tree will draw him 
many a mile. 
Becoming surfeited thereof, his appetite contrary 
Lets him masticate his enemy, or mutton, with a 

smile — 
A Chinaman is reckoned as a remedy for bile. 

" No fuss occurred with them this trip ; the num- 
ber of our rifles, 
Or the rollicking revolver as it dangled from the 
belt, 
No doubt were marked — they accurately study 
mere trifles — 
For not a man of us received a spear in his pelt, 
Which, lightning-winged and keen, inflict a 
most terrific welt. 



26 SEA RHYMES 

" 'Tis a pleasant life, for healthy men to travel in 
the bush, 
Camping out, to sit at night around the ruddy 
blaze, 
In perhaps a sheltered hollow, where a crystal 
stream may gush, 
Heaven glowing gorgeous \y with many-colored 

rays, 
And the breezes fanning coolly, after flaming 
sunny days ; 

" An ashcake baking slowly on the embers of the 
fire, 
A kettle odorous of tea, a drop of spirits too, 
A rousing yarn delivered by a systematic liar, 
The string upon a tripod twirling steaks of kan- 
garoo, 
A pot of bubbling mutton, or a dainty parrot 
stew ; 



" The pipe of variegated hue, whose soothing 

vapor curls 
Around the blissful cranium, evolving many a 

scene 
Of bygone happy racket with a varied sort of 

girls, 
And the usual regret — the idiotic might have 

been — 
Unmindful of the torrid heat that withered up 

the green. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 2J 

" Then slumber deep and holy settles solid o'er the 
camp, 

Like a marble tombstone pinning down a phil- 
anthropic screw, 
But one lone sentinel awake, to watch for roving 
scamp, 

A brute of gory instinct, with a sight exceeding 
true, 

With arms of modern make, to perforate a sinner 
through. 

" Early in the morning, when the skies are paling 

gray, 
The laughing jackass cachinnating diabolic glee, 
We rise and hurry breakfast through, and getting 

underway, 
Travel onward till the evening sets the tired 

horses free ; 
In such wise we continued till we came unto the 

sea. 

" The diggings were deserted, but the shanties still 

were there, 
A richer find up country had attracted them like 

flies : 
Everyone had packed a swag, with little he could 

spare, 
The journey of some ninety miles forbidding 

weight or size, 
Where the peril of the wilderness is naught to 

criticise. 



28 SEA RHYMES 

" We confiscated articles to build a roomy shed, 
Fitted up the patent boat, and rigged the diving- 
bell. 
After practising a time or two with water over- 
head, 
They mastered all my signals, and were working 

very well, 
Though at first my head felt awkward in the 
narrow copper cell. 

" One morning when the day was fine, the ocean 

calm and still, 
We anchored out beyond the rock — the tide was 

nearly low. 
I donned the apparatus, and they started up the 

mill, 
Shipped the weight upon my neck and let the 

gunwale go, 
And was lowered down the ladder very carefully 

and slow. 

" A certain giddy buzzing seemed to paralyze my 
brain, 

As the pressure from the water drove the blood 
into my head ; 
But when my eyes were 'blest with normal vision 
once again, 

I found myself entangled in a trailing weedy 
bed, 

With myriad forms oi ocean life in each direc- 
tion spread. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 29 

" Queer plants with scaly arms, which slowly waved 
about, 
Odd protuberances on the slimy mottled stalk, 
Enormous fan-like netted leaves, half petrified, no 
doubt ; 
Underfoot were coral sprays of many branching 

fork, 
Whose pointed tips were sharp, and made it 
dangerous to walk. 

" Graceful vines and filaments suspended in the 
brine, 
Gorgeous bearded flowers palpitating in the tide ; 
A mellow greenish lustre through the water seemed 
to shine 
On the colors of a lunar rainbow, much intensi- 
fied, 
Wavering as silent as a panoramic slide. 

" Lovely mosses pendulous on prickle-studded limb, 

Glistening bulbs with whiskers, vied with spiny 

ball or stump. 

I was sunk in admiration, when my eyes grew 

oddly dim, 

My head began to swim. I thought, ' A fool is 

at the pump ! ' 
Then something hit my helmet front a spirit-jar- 
ring thump. 

" Looking up, I saw a fish of most unusual size 
Tugging like a tiger at the tube that furnished 
air, 



30 SEA RHYMES 

Which, throbbing to the steady stroke, had caught 

the glassy eye, 
Appearing like an eel perhaps — t'was well it 

didn't tear 
From logic being used unscientifically there. 

" I watched my opportunity, it downward swooped 
a little, 
Then drove my dagger deeply in the region of 
the liver, 
And much to my relief it wobbled over like a 
skittle, 
In fact, it yielded up the vital spark with scarce 

a quiver, 
Otherwise I might have gone across the fatal 
river. 

" Yet felt a bit regretful as I saw the colors fade — 
Golden green and purple streak, or blue and 
crimson tint ; 
I would have liked the skin, in all those brilliant 
hues arrayed, 
To deck my home when wealthy, that the en- 
vious might squint 
At something unattainable by coin of the mint. 

" Solemnly I chopped amid an audience of fishes, 
Who smelt around with more or less desire to 
take a feed. 
All but one young shark behaved according to my 

wishes, 



DIGGER'S LUCK 3 1 

Till with the axe I smote him one, which sent 

him off with speed, 
Perhaps to fall a victim to another fellow-greed. 

" I was struck by the expression of these gentry 
once or twice. 

Their features had a character, as with the hu- 
man race ; 
Where shrimps appear innocent, and cuttles favor 
vice, 

A white man-eating shark can show a philan- 
thropic face, 

And like philanthropists will need considerable 
space. 

" Poor shark ! his tender youth was tough ; what 
courage he displayed, 

What knack of dodging peril and absorbing 
handy scraps ; 
How course of time developed it, what social 
mark it made, 

What multitudes have testified, in spite of all 
mishaps, 

Is reverent tradition to the lesser sharks, per- 
haps. 

" For when he smiles a toothsome smile between 

his frequent meals 
(Providing nothing happens his ideal will to 

balk), 
He plainly looks the generous idea that he feels ; 



32 SEA RHYMES 

The little fishes view him as the sparrows do a 

hawk, 
And have reason to be thankful if the creature 

doesn't talk. 

" Nature, wisely vetoing a spurious equality, 

Has fashioned one formidable, another weak and 
small. 
Well enough, and even cause for philosophic 
jollity. 
Azrael smites all alike. O Runt, subdue thy gall, 
Cease to grunt and grumble ; it is not so hard to 
fall. 

" Hacking at the obstacles, I happily emerged 
In a level patch of shelly sand, when near me 
I saw 
A wreck careening over, and as eagerly I urged 
My cumbrous way alongside, I recognized it 

for 
The dilapidated relics of an ancient man-o'-war. 

" Crusty lichens clustered thick about her copper 

sheath, 

Weedy pennons wabbled from the ragged stump 

of mast ; 

A yawning cavity exposed the laden hold beneath, 

Where bags, as Enoch had described, were here 

and there cast ; 
My mind was in a tumult as I proudly thought, 
' At last ! ' 



DIGGER'S LUCK 33 

" I signalled up at once for rope, and made the end 
. secure 
To a copper bolt projecting from the vessel's 
battered side ; 
Thinking, tho' I knew the place, 'twas better to be 
sure ; 
Then ascending went aboard the boat, and left 

a buoy to ride, 
And related my experience with confidential 
pride. 

" The second day was stormy, and the next was 
even worse, 

A week had passed away without a venture from 
the land, 
And then the bully of the gang informed me, with 
a curse, 

That they had talked it over and concluded to 
disband, 

As they were not men to labor for another fel- 
low's hand. 

" When entering this enterprise, they called it rare 
luck — 

Gambling or worse pursuits had proved a sorry 
school ; 
Now that chance had given them a downy bird to 
pluck, 
They formed a precious union, according to the 

rule, 
And honored me, their ' Moses,' with the role of 
dupe or tool. 
3 



34 SEA RHYMES 

" A most unpleasant bolus, I absorbed it at a gulp — 

I meant to get that treasure up, and trust the 

rest to fate ; 

Alone, I could have pounded anyone of them to 

pulp, 

But seeing odds were heavy, I decided I would 

wait, 
And suggested that he call a meeting to de- 
liberate. 

" We spoke in solemn council o'er the advent of the 

find, 
Swore an oath of brotherhood to share what was 

found, 
Excepting my expenses, which I thought was very 

kind, 
That the treasure-trove was sacred until all was 

safe aground, 
And it somehow struck me then that later on I 

might be drowned. 

" Of this I never said a word, but in my leisure hour 
I lined the diving suit with reeding, pliable and 
light, 
And noting that they looked upon the matter rather 
sour, 
Alluded to the sharks and said I baited for a bite, 
At which remark they laughingly agreed that 1 
was right. 

" Calculating that in case the air-tube should part, 
The weight of water naturally pressing to the skin 



DIGGER'S LUCK 35 

Would clog whatever effort I could manage from 

the start, 
Where the suit distended thus would stop the 

water pressing in, 
And counteract the gravity of leaded moccasin. 

" It worked a little stiff at first about the arms and 
knees, 
But showed a great improvement after using 
once or twice ; 
And presently I learned to move about in it with 
ease, 
Never losing any chance to pad or perfect my 

device, 
Considering my safety very cheap at such a price. 

Not being apprehensive yet, for I was sure of this, 
No member cared to risk his precious life below 
the wave, 
But had a strong suspicion that affairs would go 
amiss 
When the booty was recovered from its tem- 
porary grave ; 
So I stowed a lot of stuff away, unnoticed, in a 
cave, 

" The same that I and Enoch used in days, alas ! 

gone by ; 
'Twas there we left our weapons ere that final, 

fatal swim." 
And the old man paused a moment to project a 

heavy sigh, 



36 SEA RHYMES 

Then continued : " No one knew of it, excepting 

I and him, 
And I had kept it secret from the prompting of a 

whim. 

" A can or two of powder and some weapons disap- 
peared ; 
No one made remarks, it was not safe to cogitate, 
Communities become polite when treachery is 
feared ; 
Everybody's firearms were fully up to date, 
In case enthusiasm got the better of debate. 

" In course of time the weather cleared, the sea was 

smooth as glass, 

We pulled out to the vessel, dropping anchor by 

the buoy ; 

So down I confidently went. It also came to pass 

That after sending up a load, I signalled ' Boat 

alioy ! ' 
And found the blessed mob of them delirious 
with joy. 

" Some proposed to open one, to make the matter 

sure, 
The rest were very certain that for such a bulk, 

the weight 
Was surely gold or silver, may be dust, but very 

pure ; 
So we buried all unopened with the digger's 

handy sleight, 
And started out again to get another precious 

freight. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 37 

" I came across a turtle poking round among the 
weed, 
Stirring up the sand in quite an animated style, 
Got a fair slanting cut, it paying little heed, 

Beheading it, altho' the flippers twitched a fair 

while 
After being hauled up in the boat to swell the 
dinner pile 

" Whereby I nearly lost my life. The flavor of the 
flesh, 

Spreading through the current, advertising far 
and wide, 
Allured a monster devil-fish (they like their rations 
fresh), 

Which with horrible contortions straggled sway- 
ing thro' the tide, 

And chased me in the hold, where luck enabled 
me to hide 

" In a locker, near a barrelful of navy pickle beef, 
Which it tackled in a fury, squeezing in the oaken 
stave. 
And tho' 'twas over average, the creature came to 
grief, 
For it swallowed down a morsel, then a frightful 

shudder gave, 
And, collapsing, died. I also had a rather narrow 
shave. 

" Whether 'twas the pickle or the toughness of the 
meat, 
Being unimaginative, I must let the doctor judge ; 



38 SEA RHYMES 

I opened out the stomach, found the fatal bit com- 
plete, 

And a pair of leather pantaloons, digested into 
smudge, 

So I came to the conclusion that it owed itself a 
grudge. 

" And having nerves, I told the men a tale about the 
mould, 
Or sand, by lapse of time accumulated in the 
claim, 
Requiring time and labor to remove it from the 
hold. 
I took a pick and shovel to substantiate the game, 
But started on a tour round the vessel just the 
same. 

" Laying off the leaden weight upon the helmet rim 
Enabled me to rise at will by paying out a cord, 
Then hauling up the weight thereby and placing it 
in trim ; 
I stood upon the upper deck for years unex- 
plored, 
Without the people in the boat assisting me 
aboard. 

" Her starboard rail was shattered in some bygone 

heavy gale, 
The port side entire, which, inclining by the slant, 
Had banked the scuppers up with sand to level 

with the rail, 



DIGGER'S LUCK 39 

And made a level promenade, unchoked by ocean 
plant, 

Which every here and there sprouted up luxuri- 
ant. 

" Fallen from the carriage lay the ancient carro- 

nade, 
Never more to vomit death or cripples at the 

foe ; 
Shot stood in the racks, from which the lashings 

had decayed, 
And silent now the voice which used to bellow 

' Let her go ! ' 
But oh ! it was a dandy place for barnacles to 

grow. 

" The pins were rusted in the rail, where hung the 
ragged shred 
Of fossil rope, existing yet from countless coats 
of tar. 
Here I found a square cake of common navy bread, 
In which the water had not penetrated very far, 
Which testifies to what substantial edibles they 
are. 

" The deck was clear fore and aft, from where the 
foc's'le rose 
Away unto the quarterdeck, and poop of fair 
height, 

Beneath which was the armory, and cabins, I sup- 
pose, 



40 SEA RHYMES 

For the non-commissioned officers, whose lot in 

life was bright 
If they had a cuddy large enough to shelter in 

at night. 

" Here were arms of ancient make, all swollen up 

with rust, 
Boarding pikes, and cutlasses resembling pagan 

clubs ; 
A skylight on the quarterdeck was darkened by a 

crust, 
While nearby a double wheel had rotted to the 

hubs, 
And looked unspoken havoc through a double 

row of stubs. 

" Hairy bordered jelly-fishes, wallowing the stream, 

Shells were crawling o'er the deck, of varied 

shape and hue, 

Richly stained and polished, or with iridescent 

gleam. 

Then I spied a bed of oysters, gaping juicy 

where they grew, 
And my soul was sublimated by a dream of oys- 
ter stew. 

" Stepping down the midship hatch, I did not 
travel far 
Ere on the captain's cabin floor I found a set of 
bones, 



DIGGER'S LUCK 4 1 

A casket in its fingers made of carven fluorspar, 
Containing-, as I ascertained, some valuable stones, 
Which the skeleton had grabbed before it went 
to Davy Jones. 

" 'Twas food for speculation what these relics 

might have been, 
In that proud, imperial period, a British captain's 

life. 
So picking up the skull I tried to conjure up the 

scene, 
But a dozen rusty hairpins proved it must have 

been the wife ; 
There lay also ruby eardrops and a slender silver 

knife. 

" The captain's bones I shortly found, asprawl upon 
a bunk, 

A broken flask lay near, once containing rum, I 
think ; 
A liberal grin suggested that he died extremely 
drunk. 

The sockets seemed to flicker with a double-bar- 
relled wink, 

And a bony arm extended, as declining more to 
drink. 

" A sorry-looking spectacle — the table dropped 

apart, 
Furniture decayed or lying sodden on the floor, 
Slimy ooze and weeds upon the panels once so 

smart ; 



42 SEA RHYMES 

Water running riot in the place of rare store, 
And a merry mob consuming, with an appetite 
for more. 



" Nearer to the port stood a rusty iron chest, 
Large enough to hold a man, but tightly shut 
and locked, 
And when I loosened up an end, by way of making 
test 
Of the weight contained therein, it flew up over- 
head and knocked, 
As I pried away the fastening by which it had 
been chocked. 

"Consideration proved the cause — the chest was 

airtight, 

And being firmly wedged unto the deck could 

never shift. 

Presently I found two money lockers, not so light, 

So lashing all together so that none would go 

adrift, 
I launched them through the stern port by a 
herculean lift. 

" Another day I lugged them out between the ship 

and grove, 
Took a line and lashed the heavy specie to an 

end, 
The balance of the rope through both the iron 

handles rove, 



DIGGER'S LUCK 43 

Kept the chest suspended upright, anchored 

firmly by a bend 
That would slip and run, according as required 

to ascend. 

" Returning to the forward part, I stove the fore 
hatch, 
Descended crazy iron steps, and lo ! the home of 
< Jack/ 
With hammocks scattered o'er the deck in sodden 
muddy batch, 
The bony parts of skeletons protruding from the 

wrack, 
Like relics of some murderous piratical attack. 

" She met her fate at midnight, it was easy to be 
seen 
From a batch of stony firewood in the for'a'd 
galley grate ; 
The coppers both were empty, and were turned a 
dirty green. 
Then I left the seamen's quarters, as the time was 

growing late, 
By the ladder, which was in a most dilapidated 
state. 

" Returning to the breach below, I loaded up again, 
The last we took ashore that day. My chest 

was growing weak, 
Heavy breathing warned me of too long-continued 

strain, 



44 SEA RHYMES 

And in the upper air I found it difficult to speak, 
From odd sensations in the lungs, as if they'd 
sprung a leak. 

" Working every day, except an accidental spell 
On squally days, or when the gang were danger- 
ous with grog — 
Times I never went below, I dare not, truth to tell — 
For no one man could fairly work a pump and 

dance a clog, 
Which hits the insane humor of the jolly drunken 
dog. 

" On first investigation of the sunken vessel's hold, 

I stumbled on a barrelful of rare old oily rum, 
And sent it up, incautiously — the sequel I have 
told— 
With a score or two of rotten-looking cases, 

w herefrom 
Handy bottles of the fluid seemed to magically 
come. 

" Time brings all things to an end, and so the cargo 
sank, 

Till naught remained of it but scarce a comfort- 
able load. 
The company grew surlier, and muttered of the 
bank, 

Or the surplus which was clue to me according 
to our code, 

And also of the time when we should all be on 
the road. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 45 

" 'Twas evening, but they urged that I should finish 
up the job, 
So that to-morrow we could rest, and portion out 
the spoil ; 
And on due consideration this idea of the mob 
Was adopted, and I willingly returned below to 

toil, 
For the darkness would befriend me in the case 
of any broil. 

" Leisurely the bags went up, till there remained but 
one, 
And that went too. And then I gave the signal, 
' Finished work.' 
Instead of being hoisted up I found the air gone, 
The anchor hoisted hurriedly with frantic, hasty 

jerk; 
The tube and line were severed by a hatchet or 
a dirk. 



" All this went rushing through my mind more rapid 
than a flash. 
I cut the tube and stoppered it — the valves were 
water-tight, 
(I signalled from the chest, 'Hooked on '), and, 
steadied by the cash, 
I paid the line out quickly, till I saw a starry 

light, 
Then took the helmet grating out, and found my- 
self all right. 



46 SEA RHYMES 

" Keeping well submerged, I kept the buoy before 
my head, 
Dimly saw them pull ashore, and land the pre- 
cious stock, 
Apparently not dreaming that their victim was not 
dead, 
Then buoyed the line, and got the floating chest 

on to the rock, 
Fastening the painter to an upward jutting block. 

" And when I saw their camp-fire flaring out upon 

the land, 
I stripped, and swam ashore, with the rig and 

chest along, 
Which I hid with weed and wreckage in an inlet of 

the sand, 
Visited the cavern, but discovered nothing 

wrong, 
Donned another suit, and took a nip of something 

strong, 

" Not omitting sundry weapons, ere I made a furtive 
scout — 
The gang had every reason to resent my scurvy 
trick, 
And doubtless they would do their best to wipe a 
fellow out. 
So I travelled very carefully, avoiding every 

stick, 
But progressing through the bushes in a manner 
very slick. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 47 

" Their camp lay in a hollow, by a little trickling 
rill; 
A rock ran parallel with it, and bushes on the 
top 
Made a cover for a fair view. The air being still 
Transmitted very clearly any word they chanced 

to drop, 
And the tableau they presented would have 
shamed a liquor-shop. 

" Seated in a circle round a bonny blazing fire, 

Pannikins were passing from a bucketful of rum, 
Their bloodshot vision leering with a maniac de- 
sire 
On a treasure-bag, all eager for whatever was to 

come, 
While their leader held a chisel 'twixt a finger 
and a thumb. 

" Carefully he cut the wire and dropped the leaden 
seal, 
Opened out the brittle bag by one impatient rip. 
A solid earthen jar appeared, on which the busy 
steel, 
Wielded by the Judas of the gang, began to clip, 
For the lid was well cemented to a wide project- 
ing lip. 

" Fiercer glared the eyeballs of those ruffians in the 
bush, 
Excitement lent a tragic mien to features coarsely 
gruff, 



48 SEA RHYMES 

Then click ! the lid flew off at last, amid a breathless 
hush, 

And plump, upon the floor, full among the worth- 
less stuff, 

Fell a heavy blackened sample of an English 
Christmas duff. 

" Then spoke the burly villain, but in strangely al- 
tered tones, 

Saying, ' Partners, this is mermaid craft,' and as 
they all were tight 
None objected to the theory. ' And now,' said he, 
' the bones 

Of the boss, with all our wages, are at Davy 
Jones' to-night,' 

Then took another tot of rum, and staggered out 
of "sight. 

" Aghast, they stared, ' the horror of a brutalized 

despair,' 

Till someone broke the silence by remarking, 

4 'Twas a spell. 

Our leader engineered that evil business over there. 

Now he is drunk and sleeping, therefore easier 

to quell, 
I vote we execute him.' And they took it very 
well. 

" For they put a bullet through the modern Jonah 
of the crew, 
Then opened half a dozen bags, but found no 
other change. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 49 

So, being greatly mystified, and feeling rather blue, 
For the advent of the puddings was unnaturally 

strange, 
I very quietly wriggled off, and soon was out of 

range. 

"And feeling pretty sure none would track my 
careful feet, 
I brought provisions out, and lit a fire in the 
grot— 
A damper and a can of tea, a rare cut of meat 
From a kangaroo in splendid form which I had 

lately shot, 
Anticipating that affairs were getting rather hot. 

" Shaking out a truss of twigs, a blanket neatly 

spread, 
I soon was sleeping soundly by the fire's fitful 

gleam ; 
But echoes of the late events came trooping 

through my head 
With a strain of disappointment like a sorrowful 

requiem, 
Till I found myself below the wave — of course, 

in a dream. 

" I dreamt I slew a devil-fish, and severed all the 
limbs 
With the jawbone of a sailor, when I had an 
awful scare. 

The genuine sea-serpent which was seen by Cap- 
tain Sims, 

4 



50 SEA RHYMES 

Having scented gore, came rushing like a cy- 
clone from its lair, 

Its eyeballs coruscating with a most unpleasant 
glare. 

"And it happened in my vision, being near the 

sunken craft, 

By some severe exertion up I scrambled through 

a port, 

And sinking down beside a gun, hysterically laughed 

While the monster twined his scaly length in 

diabolic sort, 
Or clashed his jaws and snapped in truly vicious- 
looking sport. 

" Then a narwhal, with a rushing swish of water, 

keenly flashed 

From the jungle patch of seaweed like an arrow 

from the bow, 

A spiral ivory tusk into the reptile body crashed ; 

Mud and sand arose in clouds, dissolved by dire 

throe, 
And they vanished, locked together — I rejoiced 
to see them go. 

" Looking round the deck, which was phenome- 
nally clean 
And level as the surface of a board newly planed, 
An inspiration struck me that it probably had been 
Neptune's private ball-room, which my presence 

had profaned, 
Polished up with scaly tails and curiously 
grained. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 5 1 

" And even while I cowered in my shelter by the 

gun 
Neptune sailed majestically by me with his 

crew. 
I knelt in mortal terror, yet I quite enjoyed the 

fun. 
They paired off in couples as the folks ashore 

do, 
But the queer gyrating figures of the dance to 

me were new. 

" Neptune waved a measure with a trident held 

aloft, 
A bushy-bearded merman swung a nymph in 

giddy whirl, 
Her features quite transfigured by a look so coy 

and soft, 
And my heart went like a hammer when he 

kissed his chosen girl, 
But as couple followed couple, why, it made my 

hair curl. 

" Anchors, hearts, and arrows, worked in red and 
purple stain, 
Were tattooed on each bare arm or bosom of the 
male, 
1 Sailors of the Bull-dog come to visit her again ; 
The watch on deck, most probably/ I thought, 

' could tell a tale 
Of the sinking with their vessel in that long-for- 
gotten gale.' 



52 SEA RHYMES 

" If not, they were as lively as the tars before the 
mast 

Can hardly fail to be when there's a woman in 
the case. 
I watched the curious revel out, and when they 
glided past 

A happy look was patent on each rugged sailor 
face, 

While the mermaids were the essence of a culti- 
vated grace. 

" Neptune, with his massive limbs and noble figure- 
head, 

Left a whirling wake of water to the rear as he 
progressed 
With Amphytrite, his fair queen, although her hair 
was red, 

And decency would recommend that ladies 
should be dressed ; 

Yet the beauty of her figure really cannot be 
expressed. 

" Her tail came into contact with the rusty tube of 

iron, 

A subtle living magnetism gave me quite a 

shock. 

The next I knew, a rumble like the roar of a lion, 

A belching flame, a flight, a fall, a fearful heavy 

knock — 
I woke — to find I'd fallen off the bed upon the 
rock. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 53 

" ' That blessed gun was loaded/ I remarked unto 

myself, 
While scrambling half mechanically back upon 

the bed, 
Where, sinking into slumber, all my worry on the 

shelf, 
My sleep remained as peaceful, also dreamless, 

as the dead, 
And when I woke the sun was shining brightly 

overhead. 

" I visited the other camp, supposing all asleep 
In the lethargy of drunkenness, as often happed 
of yore, 
And crawling to the parapet, I stole a furtive 
peep, 
But stared, for the site was now a cellar, littered 

o'er 
With broken bits of wreckage, but the shanty 
was no more. 

" An open keg of powder in the stores had been 

fired, 
Which promptly paid the compliment by firing 

everything ; 
The gang were blown to atoms, with a finish I 

admired, 
Save one — as blind as forty bats, not mentioning 

the sting, 
Which must have been most exquisite, to hear 

the beggar sing. 



54 SEA RHYMES 

" He thought he was in Hades when he heard my 
well-known voice ; 
When undeceived, he fell into a pitiable fright. 
I was more inclined to pity his misfortune than re- 
joice 
When he told me of the tragedy that took away 

his sight, 
The shock of which inspired my dream and 
tumble in the night. 

" I bandaged up the caverns where his eyes were 

wont to shine 
With tepid tea and cotton, which appeared to 

give him ease, 
Thanked my lucky stars I had the proper use of 

mine ; 
As I led him home, I found him, crawling on his 

hands and knees, 
By the rivulet, and bumping on the rockery and 

trees. 

" They healed up very slowly ; it was after many a 

day 
That he went out to the buoy with me, assisting 

in the scow, 
When we hauled up both the boxes in a clumsy 

kind of way, 
And floated them ashore, half suspended from the 

bow, 
With a bag of keys and trinkets unavailable till 

now. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 55 

" We drew the chest up on the beach and chose a 

likely key, 
Punched a brazen plate along the closely fitting 

slide, 
And found the lock uninjured, for the end was 

entered free ; 
We turned it over twice before it shot the bolt 

aside, 
Then we hammered on the hinges till the cover 

opened wide. 

" Whatever we expected I am sure I forget, 

As I recollect the items of that queer fricas- 
see — 
A wreck of satin wedding-dress, some ornaments 
of jet, 
A diamond necklace, rubies set in tarnished 

filigree, 
Discolored by long sojourn at the bottom of the 
sea. 

" The chest had once been fitted up with neatly 
fashioned trays, 

In which were jumbled yellow lace of pattern old 
and rare, 
With sundry foreign notions worked in most ec- 
centric ways, 

Documents, and human fads, for which I did not 
care, 

Though certainly I wondered at a pad of musty 
hair. 



$6 SEA RHYMES 

" I picked a dainty missive up at random from the 
pile, 
Worded most effusively, with crest of some pre- 
tence, 
Congratulating someone in aristocratic style 

On his marriage with a fair dame of rank and 

consequence, 
With felicitbus allusions to the crowding and ex- 
pense. 

" The date was hardly legible, 'twas seventeen 

something else, 

So I took another paper up, and scanned the 

faded lines, 

Which related to the trading of some valuable pelts, 

A note of smuggled spirits, and a list of foreign 

wines, 
With a pamphlet on the scientific management of 
mines. 



" Next a parchment, decked with royal arms and 
private seal, 

Of his majesty King George the Third, appoint- 
ing from the date, 
To the sailing-vessel Bull-dog, for the British com- 
monweal, 

Sir William — I forget his name — to rule subordi- 
nate 

And administer according to the dictum of the 
state. 



DIGGER'S LUCK 57 

"'Twill be seen in English history of a hundred 
years back 

That George the Third was born and educated 
on the soil. 
He married well and wisely, and pursued a pru- 
dent track, 

So Whig and Tory patriot deferred politic 
broil, 

And burnt a common fire to make the royal 
kettle boil. 

"The nation bubbled over with enthusiastic zeal 
At the gorgeous coronation of this paragon of 
kings ; 
Then a certain class of sentimental cranks began to 
feel 
For the misery of murderers and prison scatter- 
ings, 

And formed a club to furnish them with fruit 
and diamond rings. 

" Not native vagabonds, or those whose trespasses 
were venial — 
Such vermin were neglected, being little under- 
stood, 
Charity at home was relegated to the menial, 

Who pampered the policeman of the near neigh- 
borhood, 
And generally succored all the relatives she 
could. 



58 SEA RHYMES 

" Perhaps a holy nimbus hung around the vicious 
brute 
Whose liberty was forfeited by every just de- 
cree ; 
Or the great reforming remedy was jewelry and 
fruit, 
But the charity hysterical, however that may be, 
Grotesquely boomed the project with a philan- 
thropic glee. 

" Missionary meetings furnished subsidies of cash, 

Private generosity contributed as well — 
If any doubter sneered, he was stigmatized as rash ; 
In short, it was the fashion, and to borrow, beg, 

or sell 
For the benefit of rascaldom was reckoned very 
swell. 

" And when each worthy manager had fingered o'er 

the heap, 
Twas found that diamonds were too dear for 

such a modest sum, 
So that twenty thousand puddings (made and 

neatly packed to keep) 
Were given for the hardened of colonial prison 

scum, 
Each present supplemented by a flask of pure 

rum. 

" Parliament, influenced by petitions and the like, 
Put the Bull-dog in commission for the carriage 
of the stuff, 



DIGGER'S LUCK 59 

And when she sailed away the captain, happening 

to strike 
A case of spirits, broken when the sea was rather 

rough, 
Took to sampling the liquor, but he never touched 

the duff. 

" Being unfit to navigate the vessel up the coast, 
The officer in charge, half drunk or taking little 
note, 
No matter if the sailor was on duty at his post, 
They struck the digger's rock, which pierced the 

bottom of the boat, 
Then drifting onward foundered — and the pud- 
dings wouldn't float. 

" This I gathered mostly from the log-book in the 
chest. 
The captain's bride was spoken of no more than 
I have told ; 
The boxes held the sailors' pay, and money for the 
rest 
Of a man-o'-war's expenses, which are simply 

manifold. 
There was eighty pounds in silver, thirty thou- 
sand more in gold. 

" I have very little more to add, excepting that a 
boom 
Occurred in Bony Ridge again. The diggers 
came like geese. 
I hid away the money, built a shed with plenty room, 



60 SEA RHYMES 

In which I stowed the bags. My luck continued 

to increase ; 
I sold the lot, and averaged a sovereign apiece, 

" Then got my stuff together, joined a city caravan, 

Got there in a week. The jewels found a ready 

sale. 

Married there, and settled down, a fairly wealthy 

man. 

I travel now for pleasure when the colonies are 

stale." 
And that's about the finish of the digger's queer 
tale. 

He rose, and slowly ambled somewhat stiffly down 

below. 
We sat and watched him vanish like the ghost of 

Ananias. 
The bo's'n never afterward was quite so apt to 

crow ; 
The Irishman and wife ejaculated something 

pious, 
Being mentally constructed on a sympathetic 

bias. 

The first and second mate pronounced the story 

pretty stiff ; 
The steward swore profanely that a mermaid was 

a fact, 
Had seen one in a quicksand from a certain lofty 

cliff, 



DIGGER'S LUCK 6 1 

But admitted, when bedazzled by the doctor's 

subtle tact, 
That it happened on a pay night after many 

bottles cracked. 

The doctor's verdict on the yarn was plausible 

enough. 

A psychologic trance was indicated as the cause 

Of Enoch's resurrection, and the finding of the duff, 

Unconscious action of the brain, obeying certain 

laws, 
Evolved, perhaps, by instinct operating on the 
jaws. 

In other words, insanity induced by dire thirst 
Had conjured up the mermaid scene, and lent a 
nerve to dare. 
Luck attended his escape, but having swallowed 
first 
A draught of old Jamaica while delirium lingered 

there, 
A monomania governed his ideas unaware. 

For curious coincidence of dream or omen proved, 

He cited from the lotteries, where numbers came 

out true, 

Visions haunting murderers, and brothers oddly 

moved, 

Tho' many miles apart, if harm hit either of the 

two, 
And of accident occurring after people feeling 
blue. 



62 SEA RHYMES 

The barber said he didn't know, and there he told 
the truth— 
He used a deal of opium, poor fool; his face was 
white, 
And his wit at times was stupid, though the poor 
misguided youth 
Had not slit a throat, or shown the least pro- 
clivity to bite. 
So they let him shave the passengers, in case he 
some day might. 

The bo's 'n and the rest departed, each unto his 
berth, 
While the night relay of niggers did their best to 
murder sleep. 
And now I've written out the yarn for what it may 
be worth, 
As a specimen of stories told upon the briny deep, 
And wondering if, like the digger's puddings, it 
will keep. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE.* 

Introduction. 

Existence is at best a muddy liquor, 

Drunk with somewhat varying effect ; 
Some eternally inclined to bicker, 

While others pose as being the elect ; 
Another blunders on, a chronic kicker, 

Or mouches by with moral feeling wreck'd, 
Whereat the learned jibe, yet know no quicker. 

In spite of a superior intellect, 
The ultimatum of a speculation 
Beyond the grave, or happily — cremation. 

Eccentric in detail, the system jogs, 

Some labor, others may manipulate 
The subtle tricks of trade, as needful cogs, 

On wheels that whirl in manner intricate ; 
So branches, leaves, and twigs, ere heavy logs 

Are fashioned in a ship to navigate. 
Here and there I notice men or dogs 

Are valued for their pedigree, a state 
Of things endured by the toiling crowd, 
And animals who cannot think aloud. 

* Notice. — All names used in this story are fictitious. 



64 SEA RHYMES 

Labor to the strong may rival leisure, 

And in necessity a merit lies ; 
The rich and poor enjoy in equal measure 

Their raiment, provender, or exercise ; 
Peril mingles in with garnered treasure, 

Invisible to ordinary eyes. 
There is a limit unto every pleasure, 

Excess is certain to demoralize. 
Habit dominates ideal sense, 
Even when improved at great expense. 

The human soul is rather hard to please, 

'Tis somewhat prone to avaricious greed ; 
Yet God is just to even selfish ease, 

The chief initial cause of squalid need, 
Whose feeble ranks perpetuate disease, 

Prolific in a germinative seed, 
Which travel on the breeze where It may please ; 

And where those atoms find a home, they breed 
The ignorant, the wise, the foul and fair 
Exchange ideas through one common air. 

To hamper wrong enormous sums are spent, 

Religion sells a theologic clog, 
And yet a strong, instinctive discontent 

Pervades creation ; the domestic dog 
Would chuckle at the picture we present, 

Were he as gifted as the human hog, 
Whose bacon keeps a god-like essence pent, 

To wallow through a treacherous verdant bog, 
Where one, to rise above his struggling brothers, 
Must build a firm foundation from the others. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 65 

Life is as time and circumstance may choose, 

Not altogether as the man may toil ; 
Thus may a fool be able to illuse 

A wiser man who labors in the soil 
But who again, by having naught to lose, 

Can bear with easy grace this mortal coil, 
While they whose fortunes are the more profuse, 

Inherited or fruit of legal spoil, 
Tho' proud of all these valuable talents, 
Are thereby hampered. Nature hits the balance. 

He who toils to share the common booty 

Has little time to exercise his wit, 
The steady friction of diurnal duty 

Is apt to dull the keener edge of it ; 
But, daily labor over, if it suit, he 

May breathe in scented air ; he may sit 
Amid some scene replete with solemn beauty 

Where shadows dim mysteriously flit 
Among the plumy trees of sable hue, 
Whose big blurred hands are gathering the dew. 

Where darting, fiery atoms flash and fade, 

While glow-worms burn a tiny emerald light, 
Who forage clear of hidden ambuscade 

And vanish at the least alarm from sight ; 
Here crickets wheedle shrilly serenade. 

And phosphorent fungus, gleaming sickly white, 
Has warned me of a stump along the glade, 

As frequently I stumbled through the night 
To Honeywells, from halfway up the mountain, 
Which lies about a mile beyond the fountain, 
5 



66 SEA RHYMES 

To where old Brown, upon the village green, 

Inhabited a cosey little cot — 
A better fellow never yet was seen, 

Or more contented with his humble lot. 
Many of my leisure hours have been 

Spent by his fire, or 'neath his porch, o'ershot 
With climbing foliage, whose tender green 

Lent privacy and beauty to the spot ; 
Where as we sate my host would oft retail 
The floating legends of his native vale, 

Or, bringing out a polished ebon flute, 

Send rippling trills of music through the dark. 
The echo of the whip-poor-will grew mute, 

The village mongrels even ceased to bark. 
His music far and near was in repute, 

And surely he had the vital spark 
Of genius, which fires the golden brute, 

Whose grin is fame, whose caprice makes the 
mark 
Distinguishing the slave who can create 
From he who toils contented with his fate. 



When wintry winds blew keen, or chilly^ drizzle 
Roared drearily around, or drowsy dript, 

And seasoned logs sent up a cheery sizzle, 
While scalding tears in the ashes slipt, 

The fitful blaze converting silver grizzle 
To silver gilt, as cosily we sipt 

A bowl of an exhilarating swizzle, 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 6] 

Compounded from a favorite prescript, 
A potion which could ne'er improve our walking, 
But added ease and fluency to talking, 

We often talked till late into the night, 

I questioning, he giving explanation 
With great good humor, often throwing light 

On some lost link or doubtful situation 
Which in the tale hereafter written might 

Be some small aid to recognize location, 
Or act interpreter to wrong or right, 

Not always free from some equivocation. 
I fain would be punctiliously true 
In this my tale of Olane and Hoodoo. 

Her name was Olane Merley. Long ago 

She made the poetry of this rhymic tale. 
Hoodoo, a queer title, that is so. 

My hero had no other name. I fail 
To follow up his pedigree. You know 

Him simply as a hunter of the dale 
And mountain-side. So, starting thence, I go 

Cautiously to follow up their trail, 
And whether the result be ore or sludge 
Time will elucidate, for I'm no judge. 

Part I. 

Away beyond where rude Atlantic weather 
Beats restlessly along Columbia's shore, 

Two lofty hills may yet be seen together, 
Joined by a ridge profusely wooded o'er, 



68 SEA RHYMES 

Which, rising greenly through the bracing ether, 

Shelters a verdant valley, sloping lower 
To level meadows, gay with flowery bells, 
Where sleeps a village known as Honey wells. 

No one was e'er reputed to discover 
Beneath or on the land a well of honey, 

Unless it may have been some rustic lover 
At tricks most properly defined as funny. 

Tradition said the rocks and hills above her 
Somewhere contained a hidden store of money. 

But whether buried in a well or cave 

Was just the doubtful point nobody gave. 

Fact was they had no wells ; a mountain stream 
Supplied them water crystallinely pure, 

Which, given brains to advertise the scheme, 
Had coined money as a water-cure ; 

But no, it sparkled downward like a dream, 
A homely blessing, innocent of lure, 

From whence the veriest tramp might freely take 

E're dancing on to Yellow Lily Lake. 

Over a fall, its waters foamy tossed, 

Where spongy mosses wept a trickling rill, 

There jewels scattered, disregarding cost, 
With roaring splash or devastating spill, 

Then here among the lilies it was lost, 
But iridescent bubbles, floating still, 

And glistening foam, in witness of the shock, 

Went floating round the base of Castle Rock. 



HONEY WELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 69 

Huge gray old rocks, by wind and weather worn, 
Adorned with colored moss, in queer fret, 

With ragged turrets rising up forlorn, 
Stern and silent with a lone regret ; 

Half way down, a shelf, where caverns yawn 
Like ruined windows, unexplored yet ; 

The rock o'erhanging bars the upper face, 

And waters deeply gather round the base. 

The lake grows narrow, running by the valley, 
But broadens widely out towards the west, 

Skirting the western hill diagonally, 
Water-lilies floating on her breast, 

Whose gorgeous single yellow blossoms tally 
To an odd title happily express'd. 

'Twas fringed about with graceful trees and bushes, 

With here and there a patch of big bulrushes. 

A patriarchal tree grows outward o'er 

The lake, about where land and water meet 

With Castle Rock ; its trunk appears to bore 
The solid limestone, fitting very neat 

Into a rift ; though hollow to the core 
And half decayed, the storm may madly beat 

Or work destruction on the higher ground, 

That tree is safe, if not so very sound. 

For 'tis a monstrous, gnarly, natural freak, 
The bloated, knotty roots set close and stout, 

As some enormous pudding-bag might leak 
And harden to the angles spread about, 



JO SEA RHYMES 

Or lapping from the edges like a beak 

To gripe the seamy limestone in and out. 
The natives knew the place as Elfin Bower, 
And judged it shapen by some mystic power. 

Pigeons dwelt among the leafy boughs, 
Where creepers densely clustered up aloft, 

And echo, answering their loving vows, 
Weirdly multiplied their cooing soft 

To most peculiar rolling, rumbling rows, 

Which, carried by the breeze o'er lake or croft, 

Like demon chatter in a tongue satanic, 

Suggested half a superstitious panic. 

Two ponderous arms like trees of goodly size 
Went up and outward to a fair height; 

Two other mighty limbs went slantingwise 
Down to the bank, where, chancing to alight 

On rich black mould, unable to arise, 
Had evidently rooted firm and tight ; 

The branches trailing out upon the water 

Had formed a bower fit for Neptune's daughter. 

Big vines like serpents twined up from the bank, 
And clung with spiral fold from limb to limb, 

Around the fork the foliage hung rank, 
And loosely matted by some queer whim 

Of Nature o'er a hole. I had to thank 
A large oppossum and a quiet swim 

(I only caught a transitory view) 

For what became a valuable clew. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE J\ 

For, stepping up on lacing vines, I found 
A natural stairway leading to the fork, 

Not to be gained directly from the ground. 
The limbs were steep, and slippery to walk ; 

But from the lake, or by an active bound, 
The wiry vines were gained, from thence to stalk 

Along was easy, as I said before, 

And by the scars had been in use of yore. 

Reaching the fork, I held the vines aside, 
But no opossum there met my view ; 

A gloomy aperture opened wide, 

Into the trunk. I did not venture through ; 

The place was dark. Perhaps if I had tried 
I might have got into a pretty stew, 

While walking, naked, down that yawning gulf, 

Opossums bite as savage as a wolf. 

A little arbor lay behind the screen, 

From whence I had a comprehensive view. 

By peeping through a crack the lake was seen, 
The village opposite by peering through 

A knot-hole which had evidently been 

Enlarged in times remote — with care, too — 

And on the other side, in front some distance, 

A splendid mansion once had known existence. 

But now it was a picturesque old ruin. 

Its crumbling relics, delicately stained, 
Were carven windows, where the breezes blew in — 

'Twas five and forty years since they were 
paned — 



J2 SEA RHYMES 

A creeper-covered wall, where sparrows flew in 

And found a shelter every time it rained. 
The place is oddly nicknamed Merley's Pyre, 
From one who perished over there by fire. 

The place was burned completely to the earth, 
Old plate and bronzes lost beyond recall, 

Rare tapestries, of almost priceless worth, 
Which hung about the broad and lofty hall, 

Old furniture whose carving challenged mirth 
Or merited applause, the fire destroying all, 

With costly pictures brought across the seas 

From Italy, the land of dirt and fleas, 

Where nevertheless are lived illustrious lives, 
There marble grows to something nearly life, 

Where music in the atmosphere strives 
To find melodious vent ; a jibbering strife 

Of greed and fiery blood and ready knives. 
The lower classes juggle with a knife, 

And truly 'tis a pretty tool to summon 

A soul to judgment, often through a woman. 

The woman is a fateful circumstance 

For good or evil in the universe, 
To mesmerize poor mortals with her glance, 

Who laugh, weep, pray, or impotently curse, 
While on occasion man, by evil chance, 

Destroys her fragile soul by grief, or worse — ■ 
The theme has an unlimited expansion — 
A woman fired that same old ruined mansion. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 73 

How that occurred will presently transpire, 

As I continue in this narrative, 
Which now concerns the honorable squire, 

Or otherwise, as needfully reparative, 
Whose gore was very blue, by dam and sire — 

The hue of Reckitt's blue was pale comparative— 
A wooden-headed, arrogant old Briton, 
Who wanted half the universe to sit on. 

A great-grandfather some time in his day 
Had done a deed of service to the nation, 

Which, being grateful, granted, by the way, 
Estates, which fell by legal operation 

To Merley, who had failed to make them pay 
The larger dividend of speculation. 

He therefore emigrated, dealt in stocks, 

And built the mansion facing Castle Rocks. 

Seen from the balcony the view was fair. 

The wooded mountain, brooding o'er the lake, 
Which glittered silvern in the sunny glare, 

And shallow reedy tarn or ferny brake 
Where bobs the jerky water-fowl, aware 

For prowling stoat or gliding water-snake ; 
The black-snake or the copperhead prefers 
The higher land, where an odd rattler whirrs. 

A shady drive went outward to the road, 

Where towering pine and graceful silver birch 

Join spreading beech, now speckled with a load 
Of prickly husks. Here tiny warblers perch, 



74 SEA RHYMES 

Immense gray squirrels leap, the bright-eyed toad 

Below expectant waits, with eager lurch, 
For variegated lunch, serenely made ' 
From butterfly or moth allured by the shade. 

Fresh laden with accumulated sweets, 

Sipped from the cup of weedy flower or plant 

That blooms about the place in vivid sheets 
Of brilliant hue, and odors which enchant 

The brain with fragrance, here are rustic seats, 
Where Merley eyed his daughter half askance, 

For she shone like a gem upon the earth, 

He like a rock, so jewels have their birth. 

'Tis foolish now to rave about her hair, 

Report says raven, wondrous thick and long ; 

Her eyes were dark, perhaps of beauty rare, 
Her figure being perfect, she was strong, 

Her face divine — but hang it, who will care 

To hear the hackneyed rigmarole ? — her tongue 

I won't disturb, the brain is apt to soften 

When female tongues are stirred, I've noticed 
often. 

She and her father wandered here together, 
Her rosy, laughing face so fresh and pure, 

His features wrinkled like morocco leather, 

With beady eyes, which ragged brows obscure, 

A scrubby beard and pimples — know not whether 
They were his birthmark, Nature's signature, 

To mark the artificial upper crust, 

From healthy brutes, who live much as they must ; 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE J$ 

A short, thick neck, a cranium rather shiny, 
Of figure squat — if this description passes, 

His manners surely would, tho' somewhat spiny 
And supercilious to the lower classes ; 

Hands and feet unusually tiny, 
A circumstance admired by the masses 

(The eyes of cavern fishes in Kentucky 

Grew out of sight from idleness unlucky). 

His stony calm had once been rudely shaken 

By some poor farmer's daughter he had sighted, 

And hotly chased, to find himself mistaken ; 
The girl was not disgusted or delighted. 

He had to marry her or be forsaken. 
She wedded him, parentally incited, 

And in a year my heroine was born, 

The mother dead, and Merley left forlorn. 

Intensely selfish, still he had a heart, 
Or nervous organ, sensitive to grief ; 

Misfortune smote him like a poisoned dart 
Cast by the hand of some vindictive thief, 

But time rolled on and healed the keener smart, 
And other cares brought him some relief ; 

For Olane grew more winsome day by day, 

And stole her father's hard old heart away. 

For her he sold the old ancestral home, 
Impoverished by profligate possession ; 

No need to scan the silly epitome 

Of what is not remarkable transgression. 



76 SEA RHYMES 

He emigrated, satisfied to roam, 

Took an active part in the procession, 
And now success had crowned each daring scheme, 
Olane nineteen, and fairer than a dream. 

He built a factory as times improved 

Some miles away from where he reigned as host, 
But kept it quiet, as dignity behooved, 

His ancestry once more became a boast ; 
The firm was called a company, but proved, 

When Merley later on gave up the ghost, 
To be that individual alone, 
Whose guiding hand was hitherto unknown. 

He was not loved by those he lived among, 
His business methods clipped a little short ; 

The factory hands declared he should have hung 
For keeping stores where goods were dearly 
bought, 

The price deducted from the hardly wrung 
Yet scanty pay, inadequate support 

If promptly paid, which rarely occurred, 

Yet until then complaints were rarely heard. 

'Twas easy trade, the dupes would oft forget 
The tardy pay-day, balanced to the tittle; 

When many a man was proved to be in debt, 
The firm would trust those employees a little ; 

With such as bought elsewhere, at odd times met, 
Their patience was proverbially brittle. 

Such promptly were dismissed, on some pretext, 

The game to be continued on the next. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 7*] 

But Merley's purse was full, Olane was fair, 
Wealth and beauty, tempting bait for gallants, 

She had the choice of such as wandered there, 
But always deemed them wanting in the balance ; 

Which suited our old hero to a hair, 

Who sent to England for his nephew Clarence, 

His brother's son, a dandified what is it, 

To pay his wealthy relatives a visit. 

" And if," thought Merley, " it should be a match, 
My name would be perpetuated by it, 

The property entailed." Ideas hatch 
Much as an egg contains the proper diet 

Whereon the chick evolves. With great despatch 
An answer came ; they chose to gratify it. 

The nephew shortly sailed from London city, 

Humming the chorus of a comic ditty. 

He tragically hummed the vulgar chorus — 
Poor fellow, he was leaving home forever ; 

The parents bade adieu with grief decorous, 
He'd nearly ruined by a long endeavor. 

How many of us know what lies before us? 
When safe across, no lapse of time could sever 

The stirring memories of deep emotion 

Caused by this trip across the briny ocean. 

He brought a pair of pistols, richly mounted, 
For safety in the land of lawless passion — 

Such at that time Columbia was accounted ; 
His garments were, however, in the fashion. 



78 SEA RHYMES 

Then, all the perils of the trip surmounted, 

Excepting the disposal of his ration, 
He landed, glorious with Old World knowledge, 
Expensively acquired, some at college. 

He reached the mansion when a sunset fine 
Had dyed the landscape like a fairy scene ; 

With gold and crimson sheen the waters shine, 
Amid a tracery of branching green, 

Beneath an arch of clustering woodbine, 
The skies, where rose and violet clouds careen, 

Presented such a brilliant panorama, 

Our noble immigrant ejaculated " Mamma ! " 

It was the proper slang among his set 
To thus express a sudden admiration, 

But when the fair Olane her cousin met, 
It somehow would not fit the situation. 

What it was he stammered, I forget; 
But there he yielded to the fascination 

She had for everyone, became her slave, 

And fed his hopes on every smile she gave. 

His uncle bade him welcome to the place, 
Courteously spoke of their relations, 

But noting the expression of his face, 

While Olane lingered, hurried explanations, 

And bluntly stated, when alone, the case, 
Finding a ready ear to his persuasions. 

Of Olane's inclination naught was said, 

But theirs were settled ere they went to bed. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 79 

A dinner in elaborate array, 

Attended by a dozen guests or more, 

Who chattered in the ordinary way, 

Or gossiped of the sinner who was poor ; 

They gorged and drenched their fragile earthly 
clay, 
They sipped, or smoked, or listened to a bore, 

Then severally drifted off to slumber, 

And nightmare visited the greater number. 

Part Second. 

Clarence dreamed that his spirit upward soared, 
While melodies arose that the earth can ne'er af- 
ford ; 
Olane had a cold, so she simply lay and snored 

Till the world was up and doing. 
Poor fellow, afterwards he miserably fared, 
For he haunted her with a fond heart bared 
Till the poor young thing grew positively scared 

At such persistent wooing. 

'Twas a time of emotion, of the dainty scented 

note, 
Of a critical analysis of poetry he wrote, 
Of a tinkling guitar in a damp duck-boat 

To a voice in the moonlight thrumming ; 
Till the stars peered clown in amazement sheer, 
They bobbed and twinkled in the water clear, 
And the fresh-water mermaids wailed " O dear ! 

What a wretched mortal strumming ! " 



80 SEA RHYMES 

At length they had to stuff their little tender finger- 
tips 
In the delicate ears, like the shells of lemon-pips, 
And their tiny harps floated up like water-lily slips, 

As he bellowed of a beautiful " Bedouin." 
In the hammock on the balcony with idle grace 
Reclining she listened, as the night fell o'er the 

place, 
And a piquant smile crept sweetly o'er her face, 

As she musically murmured " Bruin ! " 

'Twas seen as he slept in the sad face dreaming, 
It glittered wild in the dark eyes gleaming, 
Cupid wrote a wrinkle on his forehead, deeming 

Another affair gone wrong ; 
For it mattered nothing to the maiden fair, 
Little did she know, and less did she care, 
But the zephyrs frolicked in her raven hair, 

As she tripped right merrily along. 

So she left him alone to a fancy vain, 

And the aimless ache of an empty pain, 

To a dark despair, but to worship her again ; 

'Twas a most instructive schooling. 
Moping alone, he would moodily sit, 
With a glowering jealousy or morbid fit ; 
'Twas a curious case of a biter badly bit 

By a Providential ruling. 

Morosely he eyed that fair young creature 
With lovelorn look, as if to beseech her 
To learn of love, to allow him to teach her, - 
With the guile of an ardent tongue ; 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 8 1 

Then a merry glance or a conversation 
With a rival aroused him to indignation, 
And it seemed, by the force of infatuation, 
That the whole wide world went wrong. 

For he had no chance. She knew not how to dance, 
Old Merley eyed such phenomena askance, 
Knowing by experience the force of circumstance 

And the perils of sensation ; 
For the simple maid who dances may at first a 

mere scholar be, 
Comparatively ignorant of human physiology, 
But surely gains a knowledge of a dangerous biol- 
ogy* 
Hence Merley's strong disapprobation. 

Clarence ne'er proposed to her, his courage sank,' 
For he judged he would surely be refused point- 
blank, 
And his nature never having been remarkably 
frank 

He naturally took to scheming ; 
For her fair young face he could nevermore forget, 
He found her power more powerful yet, 
As a fish when snared in the fatal net 

Is past all self-redeeming. 

I leave him there to get along uneasily enough 
In a romance the poetry of which was rather rough, 
Tho* probably the trial polished down a cruder 
stuff 
By a process of refining ; 



82 SEA RHYMES 

It roused his ambition for a worthier mark, 
Tho' his aim was crooked and his course lay dark, 
And the life of another hare-brained young spark 
Was one of sore repining. 

Olane lived on, unmoved, perhaps, except 
That new ideas into subtle being leapt 
And faculties awoke which before had slept 

By some magnetic evolution ; 
For a sincere love has a power to sway 
The fate of another in some occult way, 
As an idea works until, lo ! one day 

A people rises up in revolution. 

In the tangled web of the wild surmise 

That vegetates on what may be hidden from the 

eyes, 
For a pure young soul some peril lies, 

Owing to her curious constitution ; 
But how that problem was ultimately solved, 
And to what extent she became involved, 
In proper rotation will be probably resolved 

In the course of the following effusion. 

Part Third. 

How calm and smoothly whirl the wheels of time, 
When the tired laborer returns to rest, 

And lays aside his worries with his grime, 
Leaving abstract existence at its best! 

A quiet country life contains the prime 
Of happiness to him who has a zest 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 83 

For tranquil peace and knowledge how to chime 

His life to this ideal ; he is blest 
With true philosophy. Down in the village 
They theorize on scandal or on tillage. 

Down there the moon is shining overhead, 

The sky is clear, stars are twinkling fine, 
The simple maid has sought her lowly bed, 

And lights in cottage windows cease to shine, 
Tho' an odd swain by blushing beauty led 

Is tramping round untired, a fatal sign 
That two more lunatics will shortly wed 

Their love and poverty, a poor combine ; 
The usual result, a hungry brood 
And everlasting scramble after food. 

Show me a man bewitched by maiden fair, 

Fallen 'neath the magic of a glance, 
Tangled in that enervating snare 

Till matrimony seems his only chance ; 
Fain would I whisper to that man, " Beware, 

Trust not the cruel luck of circumstance ; 
Count your resources first, then if you dare 

To pay the fiddlers fee, by all means dance ; 
Perhaps the fun is purely inoffensive, 
But to an amateur it looks expensive." 

Samson lived to rue the evil hour 

Wherein he fell beneath Delilah's rule ; 

All records show that superhuman power 
Availeth not a poor unmarried fool, 



84 SEA RHYMES 

The wariest of all are trapped in bower, 
Then made subservient as toy or tool ; 

And solitude will turn a temper sour, 
Or cause a fiery temperament to cool, 

It leaves a tinge of disappointment sore 

On spirits that were angelic before. 

Hence marriage is the lesser ill to do, 

Though when the time of trial comes along 
It may inflict a mental twinge or two ; 

As sharps and flats occurring in a song, 
Joy and misery will jangle through 

The music of the matrimonial gong ; 
Sickly yelling babies, awful stew. 

Never being there, may be wrong, 
I have no inclination leading from it, 
Or spare cash to buy the golden grummit. 

Not far from Honeywells, those days, there dwelt 

An odd philosopher, who never knew it, 
His buckskin garment cut from softened pelt, 

Knowing, as a hunter, how to do it. 
I cannot tell you how his name was spelt, 

His father had no tongue, the Indians drew it, 
Delighted with the agony he felt, 

Tho' afterwards he gave them cause to rue it ; 
He never spoke to the wee child who cried, 
But he would smile each time an Indian died. 

No one knew the place wherein they slept, 
The crazy hunter and precocious child 

Who by some law of Providence had crept 
Out in the woods when savage hands defiled 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 85 

Their happy home. No mother's wise precept 
Had trained his mind ; he grew up strong and 
wild ; 

In woodland craft he ranked as an adept, 
Of ignorant virtue, always unbeguiled, 

He rarely spoke, excepting when they made 

Odd trips to town for purposes of trade. 

Skins of various animals they slew, 

Venison or other kinds of meat ; 
Honey from the hollow trees that grew 

And furnished hives to store the fragrant 
sweet 
Patiently hoarded by the wild bees, who 

By flying straightway home invite defeat 
Of their united effort ; knowing two, 

When loosed apart, will join at their retreat, 
The hunter marks and flies them far asunder, 
The air-lines crossing o'er the luscious plunder. 

Times change. The Indians migrated west, 

Settlers came, the wilderness was tilled ; 
The scarred old hunter laid him down to rest, 

His spirit went to join the foemen killed ; 
The son remained, a mark of interest, 

But public curiosity was chilled 
By evil rumors, doubtfully expressed, 

So accident arranged it as he willed ; 
They shunned not he alone, but where they saw 

him, 
Which made it very comfortable for him. 



86 SEA RHYMES 

He grew up nameless till a drunken nigger, 

Who listened to the stories that were told 
Of cunning trap or an unerring trigger, 

How he Avould seem to vanish through the 
mould ; 
He leapt with extraordinary vigor, 

The number of his tricks was manifold, 
Yet was he handsome, and of goodly figure, 

Impervious to either heat or cold ; 
They marked poor Sambo turn a whiter blue, 
Who said the boy was certainly Voodou. 

" Hoodoo ? " repeated they, a slight mistake. 

The darky never noticed it or gave 
Much fuller information, save to make 

Them understand that he had been a slave 
In Southern States, where, venturing to take 

His liberty, 'twas Voodou's will to save 
Him from the bloodhounds tracking through the 
brake. 

That afternoon poor Sambo found a grave 
By walking in the lake, wherein he sunk, 
His friend escaped, tho' both were very drunk. 

His quondam comrade, stupefied with drink, 

Vociferously yelled awhile for aid, 
But stood and watched the helpless negro sink, 

The water being far too deep to wade ; 
Then rushing past and leaping from the brink, 

The hunter's son dived in the lake, and made 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 87 

A futile search ; the undertow, I think, 
Had carried off the body, to be laid 
In some obscure mud-hole, nevermore 
To see the light. Then Hoodoo swam ashore. 

The garbled tale had left an evil fame 

Like a dark cloud about his curly head, 
Few but who were much inclined to blame 

His evil arts for Sambo's weakly head. 
They dubbed him Hoodoo, and he bore the blame, 

The object of a vaguely cherished dread, 
Except, maybe, a tender-hearted dame 

Who sorrowed o'er the lonely life he led, 
Deeming his talents wasted as a woodman, 
Or dreaming he was tin ned into a goodman. 

But Hoodoo lived beneath the forest tree, 

And never yet had fared a whit the worse ; 
High in the mountain, satisfied to be 

Sole ruler in his little universe ; 
A wild existence, prone to disagree 

With civilized ideas, his perverse 
Philosophy preferring to be free ; 

He scorned the civil system as a curse, 
Whereby the mob are pitilessly set 
To slave, without the breeding cattle get. 

Over the hills a shallow valley forms, 
A lovely place, of verdant mossy slope 

And hollow stump, wherein the wild bee swarms, 
Where creepers ramble, hanging down like rope 



88 SEA RHYMES 

From hoary trees, fit bulwark from the storms 
Of either side ; a view of ample scope 

Toward the southern sky, whose sunlight warms ; 
Here deer feed, the timid rabbit lopes, 

And chipmunks glide amid the curling frond 

Of graceful fern or gnarly roots beyond. 

Where flowers in rainbow guise are gayly peep- 
ing, 

And rhododendron cast a sober shade, 
Wiry vines are sinuously creeping 

Amid the wreck their harlot habits made, 
Sparkling insects, tiny spangles leaping, 

Dodge the odd humming-birds which haunt the 
glade, 
Their slender bills in nectar whilom steeping, 

Like scraps of fire from a sunset strayed, 
And butterflies go wavering about, 
Lost in delicious paroxysms of doubt. 

Where rivulets diffuse a diamond tear, 

Or gurgle down a miniature glen, 
From dizzy little cliffs intoning clear, 

And whirling in some wee aquatic den, 
Where hungry microscopic horrors leer, 

Or dart around in crazy fury, then, 
Demurely gliding, ends a short career 

Lost in the bowels of a pigmy fen, 
Bloated reeds and juicy-looking grass, 
Nodding and flirting over the morass. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 89 

Here Hoodoo lived away from everyone. 

His hut lay in a lofty, sheltered nook 
From here to hunt the woods, or sagely con 

The lessons in Creation's open book, 
More varied vanities than Babylon 

Displayed on earth, in air, or rhyming brook ; 
All practised earnestly, the poetry gone 

For philosophic eyes, which keenly look ; 
Every separate item in the list 
Cancelling some other to exist. 

He viewed a thousand tragedies a week, 

In every tone of this uncanny key ; 
He noted how the strong absorbed the weak, 

Unless they had the policy to flee ; 
Each queer device or variegated freak 

A veil to hide a sudden treachery ; 
Rejoicing that he was not doomed to sneak 

Along the social gutter furtively, 
As many honest men must do to live, 
Where good men work and philanthropic give. 

'Twas natural to hunt his daily meat. 

Exciting to be hunted by the bear, 
Whose massive hams are very good to eat ; 

He knew the dens they fancied as a lair, 
Their skins were valuable, cured neat. 

He hunted bees when he had time to spare, 
And fished the little river at his feet ; 

The only outlet of the lake ran there, 
An easy road to travel, for he knew 
The way to build the Indian canoe. 



90 SEA RHYMES 

In summer-time, when skies were burning blue, 

This woodland life was very nice indeed. 
Game to furnish food and pastime too, 

Furs to deck a springy couch of reed, 
No fetid drudgery to worry through, 

Unbound by any social law or creed, 
His log-built hut a shelter from the dew 

And storeroom for future time of need ; 
For winter came this way, with snow and ice, 
When life up here was not so very nice. 

When vegetation droops in damp decay, 

Root and branch in paralytic doze, 
Tempests gurgle round in frosty play, 

Hurling rainy sleet or pelting snows, 
Those dead old chumps a slimy face display, 

From dripping tear, or rivulet which flows 
Down on the thorny skeletons that sway, 

Weeping for bygone joy and present woes ; 
But spring returns and soothes away the pain, 
And summer paints creation up again. 

Oft when a roebuck fell before his gun 

He stript the hide, and hung it up to bleach, 
Then loading his canoe with venison, 

He paddled to a town in easy reach, 
Selling it, and with the money won 

Procuring ammunition, filling each 
Necessity he knew; at setting sun 

Returning down the lake, along the beach, 
And crossing over from the northern shore 
Entered the river, reaching home once more. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 9 1 

Olane had often seen him thus returning, 

And naturally was a little curious, 
Betraying sudden eagerness for learning 

To navigate. Her father, not penurious 
On points whereon her august will was turning, 

Bought her a skiff, of style somewhat luxurious, 
To gratify her bona-fide yearning ; 

'Twas very genuine, this sudden notion, 

And she betrayed some gratified emotion. 

Oft, in the course of ordinary chat, 

Olane had heard about the hermit youth, 
Had even passed him, when she noticed that 

Report for once had partly spoken truth, 
For he was handsome, active as a cat. 

Tho' evil rumor, with a venomed tooth, 
Had poisoned his fair fame, the tale fell flat 

On Olane's ear, she heeded not, forsooth. 
He followed her with an admiring glance, 
But neither spoke, until they found a chance. 

When, after many a slip and nervous shiver, 

The dainty plaything moved at her command, 
One day she entered the forbidden river, 

Which led between the hill and forest land, 
Excitement sending a delightful quiver 

Through every nerve, when, drawn up on the 
sand, 
She spied a bark canoe, enough to give her 

The missing clue ; so landing near at hand, 
Where all around the rushes rose above her, 
She sallied forth, determined to discover. 



92 SEA RHYMES 

Then Hoodoo gained the bottom of the hill 

Through flowery jungle, tangle truly wiry, 
And each, astonished, paused to gaze their fill 

Or make an entry in a mental diary, 
While vague, sweet music seemed to mutely 
thrill 

Along a glance of mutual inquiry ; 
Then Olane turned, whereby a wayward frill 

Hooked fast among the vegetation briary, 
Utterly upset the maiden's gravity, 
And stuck like an inherited depravity. 

I might have said the centre of, but then 

The metre called for something not so long, 
Also 'tis doubtful if my erring pen 

Has stated the idea so very wrong, 
When damsels gaze on very handsome men, 

With sparkling eyes, of shapely limb and 
strong, 
Who set a person on their feet again, 

Without a single movement of the tongue. 
This Hoodoo did, most courteously grave, 
For courtesy is common to the brave. 

She fell, of course, with that peculiar grace 
The blunders of the fairer sex announce, 

Nor rolled, as any man would, and debase 
The language by a word I can't pronounce ; 

And then, her feet regained, with blushing face, 
While Hoodoo frees her dress, her tact sur- 
mounts 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 93 

An awkward pause by asking if the place 

Was equal to the wonderful accounts 
Which rumor gave, or if tradition lied. 
Then Hoodoo volunteered to be her guide. 

'Twas wrong. Perhaps this was the time to leave, 

But Olane was not open to distrust, 
Besides, a pistol lay inside her sleeve, 

With which her aim was usually just. 
No reason had he given her to grieve, 

So, having broken through the outer crust 
Of their reserve, determined to achieve 

The feat, she meekly followed in the dust 
Along the bank, till, parting through a screen 
Of hanging vines, a beaten path was seen. 

But Hoodoo, ere they started, had required 

A promise from Olane to never speak 
Of what she saw, as it was not desired 

That all should know the secret of the creek ; 
Her curious nature thus unduly fired, 

With palpitating heart and flaming cheek, 
She pierced the thorny belt to this retired 

Retreat where Hoodoo dwelt, and one might seek 
Another way in vain ; a precipice 
Bounded in every other side but this. 

And much she saw which served to animate her. 

They scaled the highest peak, not pointed, but 
A little hollowed, like an ancient crater, 

While bushes round the rim completely shut 



94 SEA RHYMES 

All view out from the distant speculator ; 

Here was built his humble little hut. 
From this high point, unseen, the fair spectator 

Could view the hamlet, by a shorter cut. 
And one more circumstance to fascinate her, 

From here her father's mansion could be seen, 

Encircled in a ring of living green. 

Then Hoodoo made a fire, prepared a meal, 

The fuel charcoal ; as he spread the feast, 
Inviting her, with hospitable zeal, 

To share therein, as might some rustic priest 
Offer a sacrament to those who kneel. 

And she, from all formality released, 
Humored her host, but talked and laughed a deal 

More than she ate or drank, but never ceased 
To question Hoodoo of his life and history, 
Which hitherto was enveloped in mystery. 

He answered her. He could not recollect 

The outline of a mother's kindly face ; 
His early home by fire and savage wreck'd, 

The mother perished. In his father's case, 
They tortured him — no white man need expect 

A scrap of mercy from the Indian race ; 
His tongue cut out, they left him to collect 

Sufficient strength to roast — escape, and chase. 
How Hoodoo got away he never knew. 
Then showed her Indian scalp-locks — forty-two. 

They settled ere the turnpike was a track. 
Then pointed out his tomb, a heap of stone. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 95 

His father lived till thirteen years back, 
But more of his life was never known, 

Or of the Indians' murderous attack, 
Except his father's trophies. All alone 

Here Hoodoo lived, nor ever suffered lack 
Of aught till now. The meditative tone 

And quaint remark conveyed a certain charm 

For she who questioned him without alarm. 



So when they parted on the river shore 

She told him that she meant to come again, 
And wistfully poor Hoodoo lingered o'er 

The slender fingers of the fair Olane, 
Who promised to display, the night before, 

A lamplight, through a crimson window-pane, 
At ten o'clock precisely, nothing more, 

And she would come, unless it chanced to rain. 
So Hoodoo always sat upon the rock 
And watched the house till after ten o'clock. 

And nearly every day they came together, 

Why it happened so I cannot say ; 
His manly heart had never known a tether, 

Her curiosity was hard to sway ; 
Trifles lighter than a downy feather, 

Accumulating fast, may block the way. 
Since first they met they loved, regardless whether 

It led to stormy sea or sheltered bay 
Of wedded life, not shorn of all its rancor, 
For vessels labor, even when at anchor. 



g6 SEA RHYMES 

This being so, 'tis useless to describe 

The oral outbreak of the mesmeric spasm, 
Experience proving such a diatribe 

To be a sort of moral cataplasm, 
Opening pores to the chilling jibe, 

Or drawing forth a festering sarcasm 
From some among that deedless, caustic tribe 

Ever seeking out a vacant chasm 
Wherein to shed their natural impediment, 
Of minds diseased, an acrid, odious sediment. 



Her father saw the roses on her cheek, 

Noted her lengthy absence every day ; 
Enormous lunches taken seemed to speak 

Of sharpened appetite or picnic gay. 
Her pleasure-boat would vanish like a streak ; 

He never wondered where she went astray, 
Deeming it a momentary freak, 

Whose cost he was contented to defray. 
Their courtship prospered finely, no censorious 
Or meddling tongue to mar a romance glorious. 

Romantic souls, I envy their beatitude, 

Their fervent love, and mutual admiration, 
For now their drifting souls assumed an attitude 

Defiant to the law of social station. 
Proverbially deaf to warning platitude, 

No woman could resist the combination ; 
They quickly lost their longitude and latitude 

In seas of sentiment and palpitation, 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 97 

And, caring little whither they were carried, 
They sneaked away one morning and were mar- 
ried. 

They went by different ways, she in her boat 

Along the shore, to the nearest town ; 
His bark canoe that day contained the coat 

Worn by his father once— 'twas worn and brown, 
But hid the leather suit, which might denote 

A hurried flight ; her shabby veil half down, 
Her dress was poor ; the parson seemed to dote, 

He only saw a country girl and clown ; 
And as the bridegroom had no name to tell, 
He signed the book as Hoodoo Honeywell. 

She hurried swiftly home, the wedding-ring 

And marriage document safe out of sight ; 
Her walk had not the same elastic spring, 

She said she felt a little tired to-night. 
Her father never noticed anything, 

Excepting that her eyes were very bright, 
And when her cousin, asking her to sing, 

She graciously complied, he thought, "All 
right ! " 
Then lights were lit, and Olane went to bed, 
Where Hoodoo marked a tiny spark of red. 

The honeymoon was probably delicious, 
That people may imagine for themselves, 

Too close acquaintanceship is injudicious ; 
I leave their early pairing to the elves 
7 



98 SEA RHYMES 

To tattle of, for I am not malicious, 

Or one who systematically delves 
In sacred soil ; such conduct is pernicious, 

To maiden meditation on the shelves ; 
But that they had a happy time I know, 
She always went there fast and came back slow. 

Human logic cannot analyze 

The gas of Love, or limn the mystic twinkle 
In lovelit eye, or fitly eulogize 

Osculent ventures on the rosebud crinkle, 
Nor may it tamper in a manner wise 

With angel smile, or tone of silver tinkle. 
If any man would fain immortalize 

Himself and theme, and teach the world a 
wrinkle, 
Love well and wisely, then relate the tale, 
And ten to one he'll miserably fail. 

Oh, sanguine fools, who would delineate 

The blissful misery of summer rain, 
The dreamy flash of tints that scintillate, 

In nearly ripened fields of sunny grain ; 
The ethereal glint of love or hate 

Which alternates in every lover's brain 
Let Cupid settle, for ye meditate, 

And fabricate, and recreate in vain ; 
Unless the world your rhapsodies may thank 
For many a profanely uttered blank. 

Some weeks passed by, a time of pure bliss 
And anxious caution for the wedded pair ; 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 99 

For Olane's father lately seemed to miss 
Her presence. Often he would oddly stare 

At her perplexed, as hoping to dismiss 

Unpleasant doubt, and Clarence everywhere ; 

But Hoodoo calmed her fears with a kiss, 
Praying his wife to come and live up there. 

And so it was agreed, she had consented, 

When something happened and she was prevented. 

The sun that eventide hung burning low 

On the horizon like a red doubloon 
In rainbow waves and changing fitful throe 

Of yellow radiance, which deepening soon 
To solemn glory, as the dying glow 

Ruddily dyed the glittering lagoon ; 
Then dreamy darkness vaguely blent with woe, 

Moody stars and melancholy moon ; 
And Olane, by her chamber-window weeping, 
Was under lock and key for safer keeping. 

The lamp burnt clearly on the inlaid table, 

Amid the costly foreign bric-a-brac ; 
Her mind was running in a perfect Babel, 

Her happiness had gone to sudden wrack ; 
Some spy had told her father quite a fable 

Of what was being done behind his back ; 
Hoodoo knew of nothing, she unable 

To warn him of the foes upon his track ; 
Merley raved, and swore to have the life 
Of Hoodoo, who had dared to make her wife. 



100 SEA RHYMES 

" Two desperadoes wait," her father said. 

The tears welled up into her lovely eyes, 
For Olane, living now in constant dread, 

Was sadly puzzled how to signalize. 
'Twas nearly ten ; the signal, white or red, 

Meant no or yes ; but then Hoodoo was wise. 
Green panes were also there, so she sped 

And caused the flame to greenly sink or rise. 
Soon Hoodoo saw the color flash and fade, 
And, fearing for Olane, became afraid. 

Regardless of the danger he incurred 

By trespassing at night within the wall, 
He crossed the lake to gain a cheering word, 

And 'neath her window made an owlish call, 
When suddenly a loud report was heard, 

While Hoodoo felt the whistle of a ball, 
And seeing figures moving up, preferred 

To simulate the wounded by a fall 
Among the shrubbery, but wriggled on, 
So that when they arrived, the game was gone. 

Clarence ran from where he thought he saw him, 

And rushed into the clutches of the stranger, 
Who promptly choked the figure coming for him, 

To lessen odds and put him out of danger, 
Although poor Clarence feebly strove to claw him 

'Twas underneath the bushes, where a manger 
Received the rotten garbage ; there to draw him, 

Unconscious from the throttle, took the ranger, 
A moment more, and with a farewell thump 
He cleared the wall at one terrific jump. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 1 01 

Then, swiftly running to the waterside, 

Embarked, nor ceased to powerfully urge 
Across the moonlit water, but was spied, 

For two more bullets gritted through the verge 
And bow of his canoe, so Hoodoo tried 

Upsetting it, then managed to emerge 
And breathe unseen, when, drifting with the tide 

To where he heard a pigeon's mournful dirge, 
Dived underneath, and came up in the shade 
Of Elfin Bower, unhurt and undismayed. 

He climbed up in the fork, and felt a rift, 

The foliage concealing him from harm, 
Behind the matted creepers made a shift 

To crawl therein, and found it nice and warm ; 
None could see the place without a gift 

Of second-sight, and though he felt a qualm, 
He had to let events at present drift, 

While poor Olane, aroused by wild alarm, 
Had seen his flight, and being wide awake, 
Now deemed him at the bottom of the lake. 

Part Four. 

By the window on the stair, 
With his old head bare 
And his scanty silver hair 

Blowing wild, 
Sat old Merley with a gun, 
And a face devoid of fun, 
Like a stark automaton, 

Unreconciled. 



102 SEA RHYMES 

His doughty nephew Clarence watched from un- 
derneath a bush, 

While a pair of paid detectives waited ready for a 
rush 

For a burglar they expected ; 'twas a snare laid to 
crush 

The lover of the old man's child. 

" Hark!" he muttered, " what was that? 
A bat, or maybe rat, 
Or the anthem of a cat 

Upon the tiles ! " 
It was Hoodoo softly creeping 

Unto where Olane was sleeping, 
In spite of all their peeping, 
Crafty wiles. 
Merley lifted up his gun, and took a rapid aim, 
Pulled the trigger with a bang and sudden gush of 

flame, 
Then Hoodoo fell, and Merley's face, thus having 
bagged his game, 

Wore a grin like an angry crocodile's. 

Simultaneous with the bang, 
A shriek of terror rang, 
Then a window with a clang 

Opened wide, 
There Olane, with raven tress 
Flowing o'er her snowy dress, 
Wrung her hands in sore distress, 

A widowed bride. 



HONEY WELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 103 

Then a yell of disappointment, when the body was 

not found, 
A figure flying o'er the wall at one terrific bound, 
A volley, and the deed was done, and Hoodoo 
surely drowned, 

Being wounded — anyway he must have 
died. 

They captured his canoe. 

It was pierced through and through, 

With a stain thereon they knew 

To be blood. 
And Clarence came, his nose 
Battered up by heavy blows, 
Plenty gore upon his clothes, 
And filthy mud. 
Merley complimented him for being very brave, 
And said the darkness must have been in favor of 

the knave, 
'Twas lucky that the burglar had found a ready 
grave, 

Saving funeral expenses, it was good. 

Olane, as I have said, 
Hurried quickly out of bed", 
Her weary soul like lead 

Dully sinking, 
And she saw his rapid flight, 
Through the amber mellow night, 
In an agony of fright, 

Ever thinking 



104 SEA RHYMES 

Of a wee canoe upsetting, and the awful, sudden 
doom 

Of her wounded hero, drowning in the distant 
gloom, 

And the white face gleaming of a dead bride- 
groom, 

With the stars overhead soft blinking. 

Then Clarence and old Merley, 
After all this hurly-burly, 

As the time was getting early, 

Said good-night. 

And either went his way, 

To slumber till the day 

Arose to chase away 

Visions bright. 
The old fellow dreamed that his enemy was dead. 
To the nephew it seemed that the maid and he were 

wed, 
But Olane sadly tossed and tumbled round upon 
the bed 

Till the dawning of the morning light. 

Then the night died away, 
The light of cheery day 
Overpowering the ray 
Of moon or stars, 
And she rose to face the morrow 
With a vein of bitter sorrow, 
For the loss of lover hero 
Keenly jars. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 105 

The romance of ideal may possess a stubborn 
glamour, 

But a lover warm and real, be it husband or par- 
amour, 

When dead, may leave a memory that bruises like 
a hammer, 

To markka tender soul with deadly scars. 

Why I cannot tell, 

But I know it happened well, 

A queer thing befell 

The clever father, 

For the virgin pangs of gout 

Had begirt his toes about, 

Reporting back, no doubt, 

Like liquid lava. 
The cynical young spriglet who assisted at the scene 
Came down with swelled proboscis and his optics 
blue and green. 

The staid old doctor said 

They were both to stay in bed, 

And as both were overfed, 

'Twas serious, rather. 

Her father growing worse, 
Being free, she chose to nurse. 
He who put this heavy curse 
Upon her life 
The detectives richly paid 
By the widow they had made, 
In the action of their trade, 
Any strife. 



106 SEA RHYMES 

As for Clarence, tho' she knew the part he took in 

this affair, 
How he had spied and followed her to Hoodoo's 

rocky lair, 
So great was his assurance that he still continued 

there, 

In the hope of gaining her to be his wife. 

Part Five. 

The first effect of violent exertion 
Is usually seen in the reaction. 
Hoodoo felt, tho' wet from his immersion, 
Great satisfaction. 

Exhaustive to the system more or less, 

The strain had left his vital forces lower ; 
Nature rarely fails to show distress 
For wasted store. 

So that when Hoodoo felt the crisis past, 
A languor o'er his spirit slowly stealing 
Grew until he recognized, at last, 
A hungry feeling. 

So taking out a wallet he proceeded 

To fill the aching void with something solid ; 
Nature gaining what she badly needed, 
His soul grew stolid, 

Even revolted at a noble slice 

Of sundried fat because it was not lean, 
For satiated hunger has a spice 
Of something mean. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 1 07 



Curling up, he slumbered, warm and cosey, 

Amid the crumbling wood therein collected, 
And when the sun shot up a warning rosy, 
His hiding-place inspected. 

The trunk was nearly hollow to the bark, 
And slanted gently down into the rock ; 
The lower part, of course, was very dark, 
But widened with the stock. 

Crumbling wood in lieu of sodden timber, 

Flint and steel supplied a spark to scorch ; 
Breathing fanned it to a glowing cinder 
Wherewith to light a torch. 

For ingenuity in compensation 

From rotten wood devised a wick and handle, 
The slice of fat, and, lo ! illumination, 
A home-made candle. 

Like most things made at home, a thing of woe, 

For Benedict to ponder over sadly ; 
I cannot swear that it is ever so, 

But this was burning badly. 

The light enabled Hoodoo's prying eyes 

To pierce the gloom as far as he intended, 
When he discovered, much to his surprise, 
The passage was not ended. 

A tree that grew to such abnormal girth 

Was surely many hundred years shaping, 
And at the lower end into the earth 
A cavity was gaping. 



I08 SEA RHYMES. 

The butt had split and rotted in the rift, 

Leaving a narrow cavern showing there ; 
The flame also betrayed an inward drift 
Of moving air. 

Stepping through, he found a passage trending 

Over to the right, then rising higher, 
Stalagmite and sparry gravel blending 
With slushy mire. 

Ascending cautiously o'er tangled roots 

That spread along the mould or muddy dripping, 
Which now and then would coil about his boots 
And set him tripping, 

But passing slowly on, the road grew firmer, 

Percolating water ceased to drop, 
Yet echoed with a dull, metallic murmur, 
Or hollow slop. 

The place was bored with interlacing tunnel, 

Picturesque with sphere or ragged sliver, 
Worn by rush of subterranean runnel 
Of ancient river, 

Fossil seaweed, partly buried shell 

From which the softer limestone had abraded, 
Bits of coral petrified as well 
The walls brocaded. 

Here the roof grew gradually wider ; 

White cocoons were hung in many a cranny, 
Each attended by a hairy spider 
Ferociously uncanny. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 109 

Fissures gleamed with monster crystal teeth, 

Sharply jutting forth at every angle, 
Casting back the glimmer from beneath 
In diamond spangle. 

Then by and by he blundered on a cave, 

All curious with hanging stalactite, 
Which here and there a tiny sparkle gave 
From Hoodoo's light. 

The feeble light began to wave and flicker ; 

It shed a ghostly glare round the den 
Where once an Indian wizard brewed the liquor 
To physic sick red men. 

A certain sense of gloomy superstition 
Clung about him like a sleepy drug, 
But logic, with oracular precision, 
Echoed " Humbug ! " 

The grime of ages formed an arabesque, 

Patterned over with design fantastic, 
With hanging tassel petrified grotesque 
And pennon plastic. 

Spiny roof and queerly carven wall, 

With gobelin tapestry incrusted o'er, 
And dust lay like a funereal pall 
Along the floor. 

A beaten track ran in a winding strip, 

Bordered by a crooked printed figure 
Which might have been inflicted by a whip, 
But rather bigger. 



HO SEA RHYMES 

A trail whose course the level floor pursuing, 

Rising as it reached the outer side, 
Ending in a fissure choked with ruin 
Of outlet wide. 

Through crevices the daylight faintly filtered, 

And here a vine had shot a weakly spray, 
Branching yellowly and nearly wilted 
From lack of sunny ray. 

A beaten track, as one might often trundle 

A bucket from the outer wall and back, 
Circling round a shapeless roll or bundle 
Like a sack. 

It lay back in a corner of the cave 

Near a heap of miscellaneous lumber, 
Emitting odors matched by nothing save 
A crushed cucumber. 

Hoodoo quietly drew away the stuff 

And made a passage to the outer shelf, 
But stayed inside — the prospect was too rough 
To show himself. 



Tho' waving fern and clustered vine were growing 

About the edge, it was a doubtful case — 
The ledge on Castle Rock was plainly showing 
From Merley's place. 

Then gradually poured a flood of light 

And bathed the sepulchre in liquid glory, 
Dissipating many years of night, 
But not their story. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE III 

The dreary sense of peril seemed to go, 

Fading like the odor of a drug, 
Logic whispered, " There, I told you so ! 
Humbug ! " 

In streamed the daylight, falling fair and full 
Across the figure whence the reek exuded, 
From where a sadly battered human skull 
Protruded. 

The teeth had fallen from the crumbling thing, 

Among the dust which lay in ridgy swirls, 
And mingled oddly with a broken string 
Of yellow pearls. 

The tiny bones which form the hand or foot, 

Dust-corroded, on the floor rolled, 
Hustled here and there in the soot 
Of years untold. 

The brittle robe, tho' badly desiccated, 

Clove unto the frame and served to hide it ; 
Not the slightest tremor indicated 
What lay inside it. 

Staff in hand, our pertinacious rover, 

Moved instinctively by vague distrust, 
Capsized the skeleton and rolled it over 
Among the dust. 

Straightway upreared a horrible bouquet 

Of vibrant flattened heads all scaly shining, 
Sparkling eyes and forky tongues at play 
And stalky bodies twining, 



112 SEA RHYMES 

Each hissing serpent busy agitating 

The warning music of a horny rattle, 
And one enormous fellow meditating 
Immediate battle. 

The fragile shelter of their snaky youth 

Upset, no wonder they should execrate him, 
Or try and nail him with the hollow tooth, 
To salivate him. 

Darting viciously and quickly coiling, 

Rage but rendering them more repulsive, 
A pretty queer kettle set a-boiling 
By act impulsive. 

His trusty staff went swinging through the air, 

Feet an agile devil's hornpipe dancing, 
Perspiration dripping from his hair 
From sudden prancing ; 

The consequences of a single miss, 

Making life exceedingly unstable; 
The den of forty thieves compared to this 
A mere fable. 

An odd one wriggled out upon the rocks, 

Others bravely sought to hold their own, 
But dying by the dint of heavy knocks, 
Soon Hoodoo was alone. 

Then curiosity advanced a claim, 

The rush of speculation running rife 
On who the dead might be, and what his name 
And bygone life. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 113 

The place was dry and finely ventilated ; 

Reasons for the rattlers are various ; 
One often hears of serpents congregated ; 
They are gregarious. 

A brief examination would suffice 

To grant a key to fit the mystery, 
And bare a record of ingenious vice, 
The wizard's history. 

On grimy shelves around the gruesome vault 

Lay many a precious relic of the past, 
Murderous-looking weapons of assault 
Staring aghast. 

Phials of rudely fashioned earthenware, 

In which the doubtful medicine had dried, 
Arrow-heads and gems unique and rare, 
Lay side by side. 

Wampum from the far Pacific Sea, 

Beaten plates of yellow virgin gold, 
Rotten fabrics, priceless once, maybe, 
Lay fold on fold. 

Human skulls with long, discolored teeth, 

Mummied snakes and lizards were hob-nobbing, 
Which time had decked with many a dusty wreath 
Crazily bobbing. 

Idols reached and leered in vacant pomp, 

With limbs misshapen, who appeared to strive 
To lure the corpse into some evil romp, 
As when alive. 



114 SEA RHYMES 

Earthen lamps in every little niche 

Spoke a somewhat cultivated ease, 
From which protruded yet the rusty wick, 
Now innocent of grease. 

A hollowed rock containing leafy mould, 

Bloated'vases, ancient crockery, 
Tomahawks from off the handles rolled, 
As if in mockery. 

Here long ago a mighty wizard dwelt, 

Who wielded " Humbug " with a steady hand* 
Until his potent influence was felt 
Throughout the land, 

From herbs distilling many a subtle draught, 

Cooling salve or some infernal lotion, 
Ere mighty spirits fashioned wings to waft 
The white wolves o'er the ocean. 

Here repaired the Indian canoe, 

The rugged warrior, or simple maiden, 
To hear the oracle of Manitou, 
With sacrifices laden, 

And laid ashore 'neath the tree of terror, 

Woful chanting, rhythmic supplication, 
Many a fearful tale of savage error 
And solemn invocation. 

An earthen vessel full of glowing coke, 

Moistened moss and spices added to it, 
Obscured Castle Rock with odorous smoke 
Outpouring through it. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 115 

Humbug, playing an audacious role, 

Imposes on a crude imagination ; 
It finds a home in many an honest soul 
Throughout creation. 

A wave of chili presentiment goes stealing 

O'er those who view the necromantic vision ; 
The aromatic vapor fades, revealing 
The great magician. 

Great and small, the mighty or the weak, 

Bow before the fearful apparition 
In abject horror, while he deigned to speak 
The mystical decision. 

A tube or packet falling in the lake, 

Conveying physic, as he gave instruction, 
Of where, or when, and how they were to take, 
Or possible destruction. 

They frantically paddle out of sight, 

The rocks resounding with a peal of thunder, — 
A copper gong lay handy there to smite, 
He got the plunder, 

And maybe got a blessing from a chief 

Whose barren squaw had ta'en a soporific 
Beneath the tree, and grown to their relief 
Undoubtedly prolific. 

Humbug plays on earth no humble role, 

Success arises by its operation ; 
Its fountain-head is every greedy soul 
Throughout creation. 



Il6 SEA RHYMES 

Hoodoo, with a much-astonished face, 

Yet hailed the venture as a happy hit ; 
It answered every purpose of the case, 
In all ways fit — 

Rude and rugged to the last degree, 

Solitary as an eagle's nest, 
A place wherein the fair Olane and he 
Could safely rest. 

The labor of a day eradicated 

The musty wreck of foul dilapidation ; 
When clean, the cave already indicated 
An air of habitation. 

He cut a clearing in the vines and fern 

Around the fissure, which afforded light ; 
Yet prying eyes that way might safely turn — 
'Twas out of sight. 

The hollowed rock, when full of springy reed 
And spread with fleecy furs, made up a bed, 
Arms lay on a ledge, in case of need, 
Near by the head. 

For late that night he swam around the bluff, 

And with a spare canoe, concealed before, 
Had brought a miscellaneous lot of stuff 
Safely ashore, 

And, lowering a rope from off the fork, 

Had hauled it up and carried to the grotto 
With silent speed, for action, rarely talk, 
Was Hoodoo's motto. 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE WJ 

Finding many ornaments intact, 

He decorated as his fancy ran ; 
Next evening found the grot, in point of fact, 
Quite spick and span. 

A mat of bark kept in the mellow beams, 

Lent by earthen lamps secured aloft, 
Backward cast by scintillating gleams, 
Or sparkle soft. 

Ancient battle-axes hung around, 

Curious vases stood about the floor, 
Arrow-heads and knives of flint were found 
By the score. 

The idols still retained their former pride, 

But that he venerated does not follow ; 
He kept his father's cherished scalps inside, 
They being hollow. 

And every time the outlaw entered here 

Twas like the advent of a jolly gnome ; 
Every shadow seemed to disappear, 
For it was home. 

The idols seemed to wear a friendly grin, 

And tried to swell with silent inward laughter, 
As if to murmur, " Lots of fun, come in, 
And more after." 

E'en the venerable sculptured owl 

Winked a carven eye in stony joy, 
And strove to hoot, with an approving scowl, 
" Good boy ! " 



Il8 SEA RHYMES 

A battered skull pathetically flung 

A hollow smile of welcome from its lair, 
Inferring silently, " I once was young. 
Ah, I've been there ! " 

Not these alone, but everything beside 

Appeared to wear a jovial expression — 
Perhaps a fancy, nurtured by the pride 
Of full possession — 

And when 'twas dinner-time, or winds were chill, 

A crock of burning charcoal in the room, 
Wedged into a crevice of the hill, 

Which carried off the fume. 

Many a juicy steak was here prepared. 
The vapor had a value, too, as well ; 
Once or twice a clown was badly scared 
By an odd smell, 

And wildly fled, for fear some evil ghoul 

Had raised this tempting odor as a lure 
To draw a Christian soul to orgies foul — 
Infernal overture — 

So that a woodland walk which used to run 

O'er Castle Rock at once became deserted ; 
There goblins gathered, darksome deeds were done, 
It was asserted. 

A ghastly legend circulated round 

Of ghostly figures who at midnight sauntered — 
An ebon shade with Hoodoo, lately drowned ; 
The place was haunted. 



HONEYVVELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 119 

So here he might have lived and later died, 
As did the former tenant long before him, 
A victim unto Merley's iron pride, 
Had fate passed o'er him. 

Who lives that can avoid those unseen hands 

Which shape the destinies of every age? 
How they dealt with Merley now demands 
Another page. 



Part Sixth. 

Returning to the mansion where old Merley lay in 

pain, 
We find him well attended by his daughter, fair 

Olane, 
Who, sad and paler than her wont, yet scorning to 

complain, 
Mechanically moved about the place. 
Not a syllable escaped her lip anent the brutal 

plan 
By which the cold conspirators had slain a better 

man ; 
But her eyes were losing lustre and her cheek was 

growing wan, 
And they daily marked a change upon her 

face ; 
At night, when she retired, she would sit and sadly 

scan 
The waters where the tragedy took place. 



120 SEA RHYMES 

One starlight night, a fortnight after Merley laid 
the trap, 

She was seated at the casement in a sombre-colored 
wrap, 

When she heard a little gravel on the window 
faintly tap, 
Like the signal of a sly associate ; 

And opening the casement, in the garden down be- 
low 

She beheld a dusky outline which she somehow 
seemed to know ; 

But a heavy step approaching, as if fearing it a foe 
She dimly saw the form evaporate, 

But heard a stealthy footfall on the arbor portico, 
Where the starry twinkle did not penetrate. 



Then Clarence turned the corner — Olane knew him 

in the dark, 
His identity established by a tiny moving spark 
From a big cigar he usually carried, as a mark 

Of extravagantly cultivated ease — 
Who, pausing opposite, assumed a sentimental 

pose, 
Then murmured half aloud, " She sleeps! Incom- 
parable rose, 
Would that I were thy stalk ! " and blew his 
lacerated nose, 
Which continued most unpleasantly obese, 
Also unpoetic. So relapsing into prose 
He muttered, "And no other legatees." 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 121 

Then, sighing, went along the walk, resuming his 
cigar, 

Sat clown upon the arbor- step, producing a 
guitar, 

And was tuning up the instrument with unmelodi- 
ous jar, 
When he found his choice regalia was out ; 

He therefore struck a lucifer, which threw a light 
behind, 

Revealing to Olane the one for whom her spirit 
pined, 

In his hand a knotty bludgeon, not improbably des- 
tined 
To silence any noisy foe about. 

She saw him through a corner of the netted window- 
blind, 
And fancied he was grown a little stout. 

Clarence threw away the match and puffed in great 

content, 
While he thrummed a lame fandango on the 

wretched instrument. 
After waking up the servants, he consideratelv 

went, 
And Hoodoo saw him safely out of sight. 
Then he came beneath the window, and with 

guarded whisper, she 
Convinced her much-bewildered brain that it was 

really he, 
And the two arranged a rendezvous beneath the 

hollow tree, 



122 SEA RHYMES 

By Elfin Bower on the morrow night. 
He promising to meet her there, whenever he 
should see 
The old familiar glimmer of the signal light. 

Little did she sleep that night, her mind was in a 

whirl, 
And all next day she moved and spoke as when she 

was a girl. 
Clarence stared, and gave his weak mustache a 

vicious twirl 
To see the roses gather on her cheek. 
That night she stole out unobserved, and safely 

pulled across, 
And with Hoodoo had a hugging match, to com- 
pensate a loss 
Not worthy of description, people do not care a 

toss 
For hysterical affection, so to speak ; 
The history of a day would yield examples by the 

gross 
In odd divorce, or suicidal freak. 

He hid the boat along the bank in case Olane were 

chased, 
Threw a rope around a limb, the end about her 

waist, 
Both pulling on the other end, without unseemly 

haste, 
She was hoisted to the hollow in the trunk ; 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 1 23 

He showed her through the passage, now 'twas 
easy to traverse, 

The roots were smoothly buried, and the spring, 
which ran perverse, 

Dripping from the roof before, now went to reim- 
burse 
An earthen pitcher, broad and deep, within the 
passage sunk, 

Led thereto by strips of bark ; the water was no 
worse, 
But perhaps a little cooler than the village people 
drunk. 



When she entered Hoodoo's cavern, one may judge 

of her surprise, 
Such a fairy transformation scene as lay before her 

eyes, 
Each article of ancient ware a veritable prize, 

To Olane, who proceeded to inspect. 
The pearls and rarer wampum were unusually 

fine, 
And a million facets gleaming like the gems upon 

a shrine, 
The grotto glittered brightly like Aladdin's jewel 

mine, 
From the crystals o'er the surface richly 

flecked ; 
Hoodoo there as Harlequin and she as Colum- 
bine, 
With a singularly brilliant effect. 



124 SEA RHYMES 

How they passed the time away is difficult to guess, 
But one ma)' judge it to have been in comfort more 

or less, 
As 'twas midnight ere they parted, in a state of 

happiness 
No bachelor is able to describe ; 
And Olane gliding onward in her boat across the 

water, 
Resembled more a water nymph than Merley's only 

daughter. 
If anyone had seen her there, 'tis what they would 

have thought her, 
For the rustics are a superstitious tribe. 
She entered by the balcony ; experience had taught 

her 
That a servant knows the value of a bribe. 



After this they grew more daring, and had both 
been seen together, 

By a person who had heard about the hunter clad 
in leather, 

And the negro, both of whom were drowned ; but 
failed to notice whether 
The smaller hooded figure was a male. 

He scuttled to his family, forever after steer- 
ing 

From the patch of land by Castle rocks, a lovely 
little clearing 

Level as a shaven lawn, where spirits were appear- 
ing* 






HONEY WELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 125 

Who had tragically left this earthly vale. 
The story reached the village, which was infinitely 
cheering ; 
For the gossips dearly love a grisly tale. 



Weeks had passed away, yet Merley suffered from 

the gout ; 
The doctor said he probably would never get about, 
The disease had found the nursery from where it 

started out, 
Like a tired prodigal returning home ; 
When gout attacks the stomach, like the prodigal 

it stays, 
Or only leaves its quarters for a few uncertain days, 
And presently the little home has vanished from 

our gaze, 
The prodigal will nevermore roam. 
Old Merley made his testament, preparing, logic 

says, 
To become incorporated with the loam. 

The property was left in trust for Clarence, to com- 
mand 

Until Olane saw convenient to render him her 
hand ; 

In the meantime she was granted board and lodg- 
ing, understand, 
Which in case of misalliance, was to cease ; 

And the property was deeded to a charitable 
scheme 



126 SEA RHYMES 

For providing pauper gentlefolks with tea and dairy 

cream ; 
And to building a cathedral — even Merley had a 
dream 
Of procuring his salvation on a lease. 
If the plan concerning Clarence and Olane should 
kick the beam, 
He bequeathed them each a quarter dollar piece. 

He told his hopeful nephew of the way affairs were 

brewing, 
So Clarence woke up suddenly, and saw he must 

be doing, 
His powers of fascination were unequal to sub- 
duing 
The spirit of the lady he desired ; 
But growing fairly desperate, he tremulously 

popped, 
Or surely would have done, but that his utterance 

was stopped ; 
Olane quietly told him that the theme were better 

dropped, 
And leaving him, indignantly retired ; 
But he took a brandy cocktail, and, his resolution 

propped, 
Intruded in her chamber, passion fired. 

She was putting on a hooded cloak, the lamp was 

on the sill, 
A faint red light was visible from lake and 

gloomy hill ; 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 12J 

But when Clarence came she listened to his story 
of the will, 
Then contemptuously bade him to be gone ; 
But he acted so unpleasantly, at least, so rumor 

said, 
That Olane seized the lamp and hit the villain o'er 

the head, 
It bursting on the floor and setting fire to the 
bed, 
When Clarence, shorn of all his fanfaron, 
Had sneaked away upstairs, while Olane had 
swiftly fled, 
So the fire in the chamber crackled on. 



Hoodoo met his wife, and as he listened to her 
tale, 

The anger settled in his heart, and left his features 
pale ; 

No evil word escaped his tongue, he knew not 
how to rail, 
But he let her climb the entrance to the cave ; 

Deliberately whetted up a lengthy hunting-knife, 

And started over to the house, with murder run- 
ning rife. 

In his temper, he had hidden, when they hunted 
for his life, 
Now he would deal according as they gave ; 

But a glare about the mansion showed a scene of 
busy strife, 
From Olane's window leapt a fiery wave. 



128 SEA RHYMES 

Smoke was curling everywhere, along the man- 
sion front, 

And the servants did but little in the place, ex- 
cept to hunt 

For valuable trifles. Merley's manner being blunt, 
They were working for their wages, not for 
love : 

His room was on the second floor, but no one 
seemed to fret 

As to whether he was roasting, it was easy to for- 
get. 

Clarence usually slept a story higher yet. 
The fire now was taking hold above, 

And the flames were roaring fierce with innumer- 
able jet, 
While the zephyrs gave the tragedy a shove. 



Hoodoo passed the villagers and people gathered 
there, 

Who viewed his resurrection with a horror-stricken 
stare ; 

He made no explanation, there was little time to 
spare. 
The balcony he mounted at a bound, 

Knowing how the passage ran, to get to Merley's 
rooms, 

Blindly rushed along to where the door dimly 
looms, 

Brought the old man groaning through the suf- 
focating fumes, 



HONEY WELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE 1 29 

Then inquired if the nephew were around. 
Smoke was belching everywhere in black and fiery 
plumes 
Through the windows from the roof unto the 
ground. 

All the population of the village stood and viewed, 

Delighted with the show on domain heretofore 
tabooed, 

But shrank away from Hoodoo with a quiet solici- 
tude, 
Whispering together of the ghost — 

Of the disembodied negro in the sable flowing 
gown. 

Hoodoo's face distorted by a diabolic frown, 

A loaded pistol ready cock't, to shoot the nephew 
down ; 
But destiny annulled his savage boast, 

His action saving Merley, even, brought him no re- 
nown, 
People said, 'twas not their time to roast. 

So no one answered, nobody had anything to tell, 
And Hoodoo watched the fire in the breezes 

grandly swell, 
When from a lofty chimney-pot there came an 

awful yell, 
And all beheld emerge a sooty figure ; 
Who sitting on the top, his feet adangle in the 

flue, 
With mad gesticulation beat a horrible tattoo, 
9 



130 SEA RHYMES 

Laughed, and snapped, and jibbered like a crazy 
cockatoo, 
The people cried — the Spirit of the nigger : 
And Hoodoo knowing Clarence, who had barely 
struggled through, 
Raving mad with terror, eased the trigger. 

A crackle and a sputter from the heart of crimson 
flame. 

Then together inward falling, both the roof and 
chimney came, 

An upward rush of fiery sparks, and fragments of 
the frame ; 
A sizzle, and a groaning from the mob. 

Hoodoo went to Merley, who was breathing out 
his last, 

Who apologized for injuries committed in the past, 

And gave a dying blessing, lor his breath was ebb- 
ing fast, 
When Olane, who was there, began to sob. 

'Twas a most affecting scene, but as a rigid para- 
phrast, 
I consider I am over with the job. 

Merley made no other will ; his daughter did not 

care, 
The other precious document was burned to ashes 

there, 
And Hoodoo, as her husband, thus became the legal 

heir. 
The backbone of their miseries was gone : 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE I3T 

And how he had a suit of clothes, by Olane's 

special wish 
And how he thought himself a most confounded 

queer fish, 
And how he tried to swear at the somewhat 
ticklish 
Sensation of a linen collar — on, 
Is recorded in the chronicles of utter gibberish. 
It may be here — may be this is one. 

Hoodoo and Olane were blest, in spite of all their 

sins, 
And a crowd of ankle-biters, more than one of 

whom were twins, 
But he — they never civilized, he wore mocassins, 
And rambled with his rifle through the wood : 
The second generation are a race of sturdy men, 
And their daughters are so fair as to paralyze my 

pen; 
Quality and quantity, they number nine or ten, 
And as far as I can learn are brave and good. 
The sun is brightly shining on their fortunes now 
as then, 
Tho' they never boast of pedigree or blood. 

But what they do is better for humanity at large ; 

They treat their working people as a providential 
charge, 

Nor spend their time and money on a gaudy pleas- 
ure barge, 
Or gaming with a parasitic crew ; 



132 SEA RHYMES 

They never reared buildings to commemorate their 

name, 
Their employees have never struck, to their eternal 

shame ; 
Decent profits hardly bear the philanthropic game, 

Which is played to great perfection by a screw. 
And there I will leave them, to be burdened with 
the blame, 
If this parting panegyric be untrue. 

The hollow tree and cavern I discovered and ex- 
plored 
I found it richly furnished, and luxuriously stored 
With every convenience ; and now they can afford 

To use it as a rustic shooting-box ; 
And a member of the family, surprising me inside, 
Accepted my apologies, and kindly gratified, 
My thirst for information of the hunter and his 
bride, 
And how they had to hide in Castle Rocks ; 
And to this day they still conduct the chosen few 
with pride, 
To picnic in this hollow paradox. 

They built another mansion on the slope between 
the hills, 

Where a crystal streamlet bubbles, and the song- 
bird gayly trills, 

And the forest grandly rises, here the pigeon fondly 
bills, 
While the squirrels frolic through the leafy glade ; 



HONEYWELLS. A RHYMER'S TALE I 33 

A flowery meadow greenly rolling downward to 

the lake 
Dotted o'er with sleeky kine, and frisky lambs who 

shake, 
Their baby heads and aspen tails, at sheep, who 

half-awake, 
In woolly vacant reverie are strayed ; 
And water-fowl jerk lamely through the reeds as 

they forsake, 
The rubbish where a cunning nest is made. 

The village droning onward in the distance as of 

yore, 
But a deeper dulness dawning, for old Brown is 

now no more, 
And he lies in consecrated ground with grasses 
nodding o'er, 
To the chiming of the drowsy chapel bells, 
Where many souls are summoned, and a few are 

gained, I hope, 
On placid Sunday morn or eve, when rustic sinners 

grope, 
Toward a purer state of things with prayer or 
mottled soap, 
According as the moral feeling dwells ; 
And further curiosity will find an ample scope, 
In a visit to the land of Honeywells. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA. 

Part First. 

Remotely known, on the English coast, 

Where the land lies low and level, 
Dwells a rustic folk, whose leading toast 

In the not infrequent revel, 
Is the river that flows from the sea inland, 
Or ebbs as the ocean tides command, 
Till a big ship floats, or the urchins stand, 

In the trail of a deep sea devil, 
By a fable of ye olden time. 

Tradition told of a mammoth snake, 

Of an instinct fierce and gory, 
Which wallowed a way through the marshy brake, 

According to their story. 
And here it basked in the sunny heat 
For dinner devouring a maiden sweet, 
Till a bold knight slew it ; the marvellous feat 

Obscured his name with glory, 
From the battle of ye olden time. 

The name of the village is little account, 

For it slipped my recollection ; 
But the people yet have a fair amount 

Of my reverent affection ; 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 35 

Sons or daughters to the sons of the sea, 
Simple and honest as they well can be 
In the land of the tidal river Lea, 
As I choose to name that section, 
For the sake of ye olden time. 

Years ago to the sleepy port, 

Came a ship all worn and battered, 
With a rollicking crew of a reckless sort, 

Her canvas torn and tattered ; 
The bulwarks gone, where the wild wave crashed, 
And a howling tempest raving lashed, 
When a driving spray o'er the sailors dashed, 

Till their locks with brine grew matted 
Like the beards of ye olden time. 

She had braved the breakers along the shore, 

To the mouth of the tidal river ; 
'Twas a Yankee ship with wealth galore 

In the hands of the careless giver, 
And the quiet little village rang ere long 
To the deep-sea shandy, or roving song, 
Rolling an echo, bold and strong, 

To the maiden ears aquiver 

With the glamour of the olden time. 

The tars drank deep of the rarest brew, 

Till the light came faintly dawning ; 
They fought like furies, but fairly too, 

In the wee small hours of the morning, 
Yet dusk in the evening found them true 



136 SEA RHYMES 

To the faith of the moonlight rendezvous, 
Mid the shadowy lanes and the falling dew, 
In the teeth of the gray beards' warning, 
As it happened in ye olden time. 

Many a maiden fair and young, 

Merry with a playful passion, 
Their guileless souls so finely strung 

In the key of the old-time fashion, 
Which tells of the lover so bold and true, 
Who sails away on the briny blue 
With never a lady among the crew, 

And a temperate scale of ration, 
Like a saint of ye olden time. 

In dove-like pairs they wandered forth, 

Through lanes they roved securely, 
They spread to the eastward, west, and north, 

Their faces set demurely ; 
On the south lav the river, and the Yankee ship, 
Whence two by two would the jack tars slip, 
And away to the wandering maidens skip, 
Who were quite unawaring, surely, 
In the humor of ye olden time. 

There Pippin of the foretop, short and stout, 

Muscular, hard, and hairy, 
Was taken aback when he wandered out 

By a sweet-faced maid named Mary ; 
Tubs of the forecastle swore by Jane, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA. 1 37 

Chips and a Lilly agreed in the grain, 
And Grace found Parsons in mental pain, 
While the rhymer of the ship saw a fairy 
As fair as in ye olden time. 



'Twas the rhyming tar, with a beardless chin, 

And the theories glibly spoken, 
Of the endless trouble he tumbled in, 

And a short pug nose twice broken ; 
The bandied limbs, and the tousled hair, 
Who sang of the mermaids wondrous fair, 
While the crew chimed in with a chorus rare, 

And he led them by that token, 
Like a troop of ye olden time. 

By a gray old church, with the big square tower, 

Where bells rung sweet and sadly, 
By the quaint old inn where the fragrant flower 

Made the lovelorn heart ache badly ; 
The ruined old abbey where the ivy climbs, 
In the dells, where the blackbird trills at times, 
Were fond hearts echoing the mystic chimes, 

Which made wise men do madly, 
As was ever in ye olden time. 

When the clock in the tower boomed half-past 
ten, 

With a strain of moral rancor, 
Then the maidens murmured adieu to the men, 

Who glowered a hopeless canker, 



I38 SEA RHYMES 

They pleaded vainly, the maid soon gone, 
And a light in her chamber window shone, 
Drifting disconsolate, one by one 

They gathered at the sign of the Anchor, 
A tavern of ye olden time. 



A fisherman's daughter can deftly row 

The skiff where the wavelet shimmers, 
Her voice makes music to the old banjo 
Where the moon, reflected, glimmers, 
Her eyes are luminous with subtle light, 
As his voice floats musical love through the night, 
And the chords magnetically throb with delight, 
For the soul of the rhymer simmers 
With a fervor of ye olden time. 

But the fair young dove flies home to roost, 

At the sound of the half-hour booming, 
The eloquent tongue of the lover unloosed 

Is tied by a futile fuming ; 
For the boat scrapes harshly along the shore, 
One stolen kiss, and the dream is o'er, 
And she disappears, to be seen no more, 
Till the morrow in the twilight glooming, 
Like a vision of ye olden time. 

Mournfully up by the stone bridge wall, 

With the banjo slung right handy, 
He meets with his shipmates, short and tall, 

But all their legs look bandy. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 39 

Then a generous bout with the nut-brown purl, 
The tars in turn toast the Unseen Girl, 
Then march where the river's eddyings whirl, 
Refraining the deep sea shandy, 
In the manner of ye olden time. 

The banjo twangs with a sounding pank 

As the leading voice goes pealing, 
Down a silent street, to the river bank, 

Where a misty veil is stealing ; 
And an echo floats it back again, 
Like a distant hail from the briny main ; 
The tars join in with a wierd refrain, 

And a hurricane of feeling, 
In a tune of ye olden time. 

Shandy. 

Sing roving far o'er the briny water, 

Aye, ho, boys, roll and go, 
None so fair as a sailor's daughter 

Carry me along to my own true love ; 
Her eyes are a light for the homeward bounder, 
A fair breeze travelling lingers round her 
Follow, my lads, till the winds have found her, 

Ransome, sweetheart, ransome me. 

There's storm in the distance fiercely growling, 

Aye, ho, boys, roll and go ; 
But I hear her sigh thro' the tempest howling 

Carry me along to my own true love, 



140 SEA RHYMES 

The waves may roar, and the thunders rumble 
None but she may find me humble, 
Down in her lap my gold shall tumble, 
Ransome, sweetheart, ransome me. 

For a buzzing breeze in the ratlines moaning, 

Aye, ho, boys, roll and go ; 
A bubbling wake, and the timbers groaning, 

Carry me along to my own true love, 
Bellow in the sail, o'er the old tub skating, 
Rattle in the rigging and clatter on the grating, 
Hurry me along to a fair maid waiting, 

Ransome, sweetheart, ransome me. 

Swift with the tide in the channel rushing, 

Aye, ho, boys, roll and go, 
Sheet set taut with a fair wind pushing, 

Carry me along to my own true love ; 
High in the window a faint light twinkles, 
A chorus bold, as the banjo tinkles, 
Merry little maiden, smooth these wrinkles, 

Ransome, sweetheart, ransome me. 



And as the band went trolling down the road, 

At certain intervals a gentle flutter, 
Behind the diamond panes and curtain showed, 

While some one's voice betrayed an eager stutter, 
The maiden, roused by the strain she hears, 
Has two bright eyes suffused with tears, 
Her soft young soul is beset with fears, 

Too vague for the tongue to utter, 
Like a seeress of ye olden time. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA Hi 

The dried old gaffers totter out of beds, 

With click and creak of windows open swinging ; 
Grannies popping out their nightcapt heads, 

Would squawk a shaky quaver to the singing ; 
Doddering old sailors, waiting quietly for the grave, 
Their brawny sons now absent on the bosom of the 

wave, 
Bellow feebly in the shandy while their grizzled 
whiskers wave, 
Their memory pathetically winging 
To the frolic of ye olden time. 

The watchmen list to the billowy sound 

They join in the odd procession, 
And join when the sweet refrain comes round 

For they sing with great expression ; 
Their stern looks gradually grow less grim, 
The melody makes their eyes grow dim, 
But they swell the chorus with a fanatic vim, 

Like sinners at confession, 
To a friar of ye olden time. 

The lord of the manor passes by 

But never a hat was lifted, 
He scowls on them with lowering eye, 

For a tale has widely drifted 
Of the woman who lives in the ivied cot 
Her fair fame smirched with a lifelong blot; 
But the lord of the manor heeds her not, 

Her shame may never be lifted, 
Which befell her in ye olden time. 



142 SEA RHYMES 

No happier maiden lived, one day, 

In the village of the shining water, 
Than the bonny dark-eyed laughing fay 

Who was known as the fisherman's daughter 
Years gone by, for the seasons go, 
As the tidal waters ebb and flow. 
Now her raven locks in the breezes blow, 

And a wisdom time has taught her 
By the trouble of ye olden time. 

Her face is fair, and her eyes shine bright, 

Her mellow voice rings sweetly, 
Her step is springing yet, and light, 

And her garments clinging neat 1 v. 
She lives alone, with a daughter fair 
Of the same soft eyes, and silky hair, 
And, friend or foe, there are none may share, 

In the secret kept discreetly. 
Of the doings of ye olden time. 

Her father sails his fishing smack 

To the banks of the briny ocean ; 
He brings her curious trifles back, 

But the child has a fancied notion, 
That his eyes grow dark as he scans her face, 
For the well-known traits of a reckless race, 
Then the harsh lines soften to her winsome grace, 

And a kindlier emotion, 

Which is not of ye olden time. 

The mother takes her along to church, 
Each peaceful Sunday morning. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 43 

And of late the rhyming tar would lurch, 

To sit in the background yawning ; 
Then home to her door he beguiled their way, 
With the fun that a sailor alone can say, 
And she finds it awkward to say him nay, 

In the light of the new love dawning 
From the sorrows of ye olden time. 

Yet she gives him to know she has once been wed, 

Tho' the proof thereof is missing, 
That she waits till her scampish spouse be dead, 

Her voice with hatred hissing. 
And he seeks to discover the rascal's name, 
That his blood may cleanse her life from shame, 
But she held her peace, so that all which came, 

From the theme was an ardent kissing 
In defiance of ye olden time. 



Part Second. 

In the smithy by the landing lived a gray- 
beard hale and hearty, 
His rosy face resembling some ancient figure- 
head, 

He was dignified in bearing, and of no uncertain 
standing 
Like the famous Bonaparte, who by wit and wis- 
dom led, 

He was deft as a mechanic, with the lore of his 
trade 



144 SEA A' II YATES 

By the mystery vulcanic, he a cosey living made, 
His head was long- and level, and his soul was not 

afraid, 
As he labored in the smithy by the tidal river 

Lea. 

He was favored by the pastor of the church so 

gray and ancient, 
Where the tombstones gleam out whitely from 

amid the rustling trees ; 
And his forge sent out a clamor as he welded calm 

and patient 
With the sparkles flying swiftly and the bellows' 

angry wheeze. 
The fisherman returning with a scaly silvern spoil, 
Marked the ruddy flare burning and tumultous 

turmoil, 
And was fain to rest his muscles after weary hours 

of toil, 
In the smithy of the village by the tidal river 

Lea. 

People called him Benny Rowland, from a liking 
that they bore him ; 
Of manner bright and genial, to everyone alike. 
They who settled there before him, said he wan- 
dered from the lowland, 
When his homestead was demolished by the 
bursting of a dyke. 
A baby girl of tender years, which tenderly he 
carried 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 45 

Was all he had, the mother had been drowned 

where'er she tarried, 
And was later found and buried by the chapel 

where they married, 
E'er they settled in the lowland of the tidal river 

Lea. 



He had prospered in his calling by a sturdy perse- 
verance, 
And the crippled Yankee vessel brought him 
gear to repair, 

By a youth of good appearance, when the shades 
of night were falling, 
Who could tell a tragic story how the vessel 
drifted there. 

He was bo'sun of the damaged craft, a boon com- 
panion too, 

And in their cot enjoyed a draught of strong Oc- 
tober brew. 

So it fell that Marie Rowland and the handsome 
bo'sun grew 
Well acquainted in the village by the tidal river 
Lea. 



She had grown to be a beauty in their homely little 
dwelling, 
As a violet might blossom by some rugged bowl- 
der's side, 

And he heard her father telling of the maiden's 
loving duty, 



146 SEA RHYMES 

With a curious conviction that she was his fu- 
ture bride, 
From her hand a fervid feeling set his inner soul 

a-tingle, 
Their furtive glances stealing seemed to magically 

mingle 
On his ear her voice with melody magnetic seemed 
to jingle, 
While the maiden when he answered softly 
sighed, 
. In the cottage of the village by the tidal river 
Lea. 



And thereafter in the gloaming by the footpath 
o'er the moor, 
Stood a sunburnt sailor watching for the lovely 
earnest face, 
Where the moonlight calmly pours while the 
stricken ones are roaming, 
The presence of each other sanctifying time and 
place, 
Of the world they little wondered in their strange 

infatuation ; 
Even destiny had blundered in the vessel's desti- 
nation. 
And brought them to a spot replete with every 
fascination, 
That Nature can afford the human race, 

In that solitary village by the tidal river 
Lea. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 47 

Benny Rowland, unsuspecting of the way affairs 
were going, 
Saw the happy pair roving, with a calm un- 
shaken trust, 
Far adown the river rowing ; and he lent without 
reflection 
Their tiny boat, whose anchor chain was thick 
with idle rust ; 
For his lordship of the manor once had met a chill 

rebuff, 
When the maiden had been pestered by his ogling 

enough, 
And appealed to Benny Rowland, who had spoken 
very rough, 
To the scion of an ancient upper crust, 

Whilom rulers of the village by the tidal river 
Lea. 

A libertine with power, in the shape of lands and 
money, 
A God upon a bicycle his loftiest ideal ; 
Of some bucolic cleverness, impertinently funny, 
And a dignity of bearing, either gross or fune- 
real ; 
A magistrate, by virtue of his standing in the shire, 
But secretly a gambler, a drunkard, also liar ; 
Ambitious as old Satan with libidinous desire, 
And he cast a look of envy on the lovers' true 
and leal, 
As they wandered in the meadows by the tidal 
river Lea. 



148 SEA RHYMES 

And in spite of their traditions there were very few 
revered him, 
For his record as a gentleman was ominously 
dark, 
In their hearts a many hated, and the balance 
vaguely feared him, 
While his tenants all reported him a veritable 
shark. 
When the daughter of the fisherman had wandered 

home again, 
With her baby girl o'crshadowed by a miserable 

stain, 
She kept her story hidden in her now enlightened 
brain, 
Lest her fond old father make a fatal mar!:, 
On the villain of the village by the tidal river 
Lea. 

But she cursed him when she met him, with the 

fervor of a prophet, 
And he listened as he hurried from the injured 

woman's path, 
Saying, 'ere lie went to Tophet, that the Lord might 

not forget him, 
But inflict a retribution in the righteousness of 

wrath ; 
And a chill foreboding shiver sent a tremor thro ! 

his frame. 
While deeming weakling innocence a fascinating 

game, 
He rarely felt compunction for the misery or shame 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 49 

Of his victim in the hopeless aftermath — 

But the vengeance of the elders of the tidal 
river Lea ! 



The Yankee ship was lying on the bank across the 
ferry, 
And the carpenters had torn away the bo'sun's 
private bunk ; 
The sailors making merry made the situation try- 
ing* 
Occasionally some of them would get extremely 

drunk ; 
So the bo'sun, rather tired of the gay nocturnal 

din, 
Which is not to be desired after one has tumbled 

in, 
With a dreamy recollection of the fair transparent 

skin 
Of a saintly vision, beaming on a monk, 

Hired a chamber at the Anchor by the tidal 

river Lea. 

A rambling old ruin, once a pleasant country villa, 
Massy walls and windows, with the lattice dia- 
mond paned, 
An enormous weeping-willow o'er the door one en- 
tered through in, 
And a mossy thatch by many years of weather 
darkly stained, 
But the landlord was so jolly, and so corpulent to 
boot, 



150 SEA RHYMES 

The bare idea was folly that the quarters wouldn't 

suit ; 
The inn for some four hundred years had held a 
good repute, 
Tho' it may have leaked a trifle when it rained 
On the houses of the village by the tidal river 
Lea. 

Inside a sandy flooring showed an excavated hollow, 
Worn by generations of the hobnailed British 
shoe, 
Which was excellent to follow for the visitor ex- 
ploring, 
To the cosiest old parlor that a traveller ever 
knew. 
From a huge cavernous chimney came a warm and 

ruddy glare, 
On the oaken wainscot firmly flanked by weighty 

bench or chair, 
Deep corroded by the ravages that time had eaten 
there ; 
The ceiling raftered ponderously too, 

As was common in the village by the tidal 
river Lea. 

Here the shadows nod and flicker where the rug- 
ged seamen gather, 
Where the pudding-featured pot-boy passed the 
potent home-brew'd ale, 

With a crown of creamy lather, and they sip the 
honest liquor 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 5 1 

From the pewter, as a knotty -faced old sailor tells 
a tale, 
In a dialect besprinkled with the phrasing of the 

sea, 
And a leathern forehead wrinkled by the strain of 

memory, 
With a horny finger lifted as they listen earnestly, 
Of the time that he was shipwrecked in a gale, 
Long remembered in the village by the tidal 
river Lea. 

Here the clock whereon a rooster stood, defiantly 
and ready, 
As depicted by the artist, to victoriously crow ; 
Ill-natured rumor said he was an emblem of the 
brewster, 
The only " tick " available was swinging to and 
fro. 
Tho' his smile was sweet as honey, it was tacitly 

believed 
That a dearth of ready money was the only sin he 

grieved, 
His twinkling little vision was too keen to be de- 
ceived, 
A winding-up made clock and business go, 

In the cosey little parlor by the tidal river Lea. 

The landlord's pretty daughter, lightly here and 
there flitting 
On the business of the sanctum where the higher 
caste repair, 



152 SEA RHYMES 

Which is surely very fitting, for the sailor is a 
snorter, 
Where a merchant gravely listens with a self- 
complacent air. 
Jane had watched the bo'sun with an absent-minded 

stare, 
Who saw that her complexion was unusually 

fair; 
Then she fell a willing victim to sensations sweet 
and rare, 
When he kissed her, which of course he had not 
ought to, 
In the tavern of the village by the tidal river 
Lea. 

But the bo'sun's purse was weighty, and the host 
displayed a chamber 
Of ghastly air, but many rare old pictures on the 
wall, 
Where a pretty girl was smiling on a veteran of 
eighty, 
Who was scowling at the bo'sun with the bitter- 
ness of gall ; 
A warrior with ringlets aimed a dire destructive 

jab, 
At a convict clad in singlets of unutterable drab, 
Who had just fired off a blunderbuss and waited 
for the stab 
From a rapier, which never seemed to fall, 

In the picture of the chamber by the tidal river 
Lea. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 53 

Here Apollyon scared a pedler, who with apoplectic 
vision, 
Rubbed his hands in feeble protest at the mon- 
ster's merry grin, 
Indicating with precision, that the demon was a 
meddler, 
And whatever his pretension it was evidently 
thin. 
Whene'er the bo'sun went to bed, he scanned this 

work of art, 
But the morning had not altered the position of the 

dart. 
The speculation might have racked a nervous per- 
son's heart, 
As to whether he — the pedler — saved his skin ; 
But the bo'sun slumbered soundly by the tidal 
river Lea, 



On the quaking bog of feathers, in the carven mam- 
moth coffin, 
With a canopy suspended overhead, of massive 
oak ; 

And he promptly glided off into a dream of forty 
wethers, 
Round a lamb with Marie's features, who was 
telling them a joke ; 

Then a serpent gliding stealthily had poised a 
venomed fang, 

When a ram with long gray whiskers struck the 
scaly head a bang, 



154 SEA RHYMES 

Which sounded as a hammer on the smithy anvil 
rang, 
And the whole affair vanished as he woke, 

In the chamber of the Anchor by the tidal river 
Lea. 

On the chamber threshold waiting, with his hand 
upon the handle, 
Stood the landlord of the Anchor with an anx- 
ious puckered brow 
Holding up a flaring candle, who began by blandly 
stating 
That his hostelry was crowded to the fullest limit 
now. 
The yearly celebration of the customary fair 
Increased the population till they had no room to 

spare, 
And the lord of all the manor waited on the landing 
there. 
Belated in the village of the tidal river Lea. 

'Twas early in the morning and the rain was wildly 

pouring, 
The manor lay some distance by a dark and 

muddy road, 
Its people soundly snoring, barred and bolted till 

the morning, 
And in praise of early rising, then a chanticleer 

crowed. 
His lordship wished to share his bed, the largest in 

the place. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA I 55 

The bo'sun ignorantly said he understood the case, 
Was delighted to oblige him, with a hospitable 

grace 
In the chamber of the tavern by the tidal river 

Lea. 

And his lordship waxing jolly at the turn it gave 
affairs 
Made an ample explanation of the circumstances 
that 
Are a fertile source of pairs, just a little youthful 
folly, 
And dilated' on the beauties of a game at baccarat. 
The bo'sun did not care, so returned the fair ad- 
vances, 
By a promise to be there and investigate the 

chances 
At eleven on the morrow night, when fashionable 
dances 
In society are opened, few are earlier than that, 
Not counting in the village by the tidal river 
Lea. 

On the morrow, after Marie from their try sting 
place departed, 
He repaired to his appointment at the hour of 
eleven, 
Feeling very tender-hearted, for to-night his blush- 
ing fairy 
Had decided she would marry him to crystallize 
their heaven. 



156 SEA RHYMES 

So the landlord led the way into a private little den. 
But the bo'sun could not play, which plainly 

thunderstruck the men, 
So the detail of description is denied my rhyming 
pen, 
For their tactics were unusually wary, 

In the layout of the tavern by the tidal river 
Lea. 

On a sideboard were decanters, also wines of varied 
vintage, 
Beneath a painted abigail of most peculiar mien, 
Whose eyes betrayed a squintage, like a pair of 
vigilantes 
Charging- bayonets in a riot, both were uniformly 
green. 
To the young commercial drummer who was losing 

all his cash, 
Jane administered a hummer of the whiskey labeled 

Mash, 
And the bo'sun drank sufficient to become ex- 
tremely rash, 
Had he understood the motive of the scene, 
In the little tavern parlor by the tidal river Lea. 

The charming Jane was playing a piano low and 
sweetly 
With musical ability one hardly would expect, 
Attired very neatly, and occasionally saying 

Merry trifles to the bo'sun which were more than 
correct, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 57 

Or arranged the shining glasses as each named his 

pet potation, 
And the potent fluid passes to promote exhilaration, 
Till the bo'sun, growing reckless, stole a furtive os- 
culation, 
From the siren of the Anchor by the tidal river 
Lea. 

She smiled on his caressing with an appetite for 

more, 
And he marked a fervent feeling blazing plainly 

in her eye ; 
The diamond that she wore in the cincture of her 

tresses, 
Shot a fiery rainbow sparkle, like her favor, 

nothing shy. 
His pulse beat like a hammer, and his brain began 

to whirl, 
From the sympathetic glamour of that tender-heart- 
ed girl, 
Or the steaming whiskey toddy after sundry mugs 

of purl, 
From the barrel in the cellar by the tidal river 

Lea. 

He told her she was pretty, which was welcome 

news to hear, 
By the pinky hue that deepened on the round 

transparent cheek, 
And another glass of toddy filled his noble heart 

with pity, 



I58 SEA RHYMES 

That a previous engagement made it dangerous 
to speak. 
The party cut and shuffled as it came unto their turn 
Their hair wildly ruffled, but with faces set and stern, 
While the coin chinked or jingled in the little silver 
urn, 
To be captured by some seeming lucky freak, 
Of the gamblers in the tavern by the tidal river 
Lea. 

Boniface was playing with the drummer quite 
sedately, 
Against a local lawyer and his lordship, tho' they 
lost ; 
But he played deliberately, fate is fickle, he was 
saying, 
And the liquor circulated quite regardless of the 
cost ; 
So the drummer lost his coin, and despairing went 

to bed, 
Departing on the morrow with a heavy aching head, 
And was punished for embezzlement, a flying rumor 
said, 
While the bo'sun o'er the ferry slowly crossed, 
Rather weary of the tavern by the tidal river 
Lea. 

The trio went carousing, each according to his 
planet, 
His lordship and mine host agreed the bo'sun 
was a fool, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA I 5 9 

And they gave the pretty Janet, tho' her father 

had been losing, 
A douceur in token of her knack for keeping 

cool, 
Who repaired to the smithy, later on into the day 
And had an artful gossip with old Benny by the way, 
Who warned the handsome bo'sun that his manner 

was too gay, 
For the beauty of the village by the tidal river 

Lea. 

He abused him somewhat coarsely, and the fisher 
people hearkened 
For a challenge from the bo'sun, they were both 
about a size, 

But his features only darkened, as he said, good 
morning, hoarsely, 
Meeting Marie by the ferry to his gratified sur- 
prise ; 

Then he made a full confession, and the girl was 
satisfied 

That he meant no slack affection for his late affi- 
anced bride, 

There they settled on a meeting by the haunted 
mere side, 
Very early in the morning, down the tidal river 
Lea. 



160 sea rhymes 

Part Third. 

There's a mighty -spreading oak, in the meadow 

down the road, 
Where the rocks afford a shelter to the bright- 
eyed dingy toad, 
There a stagnant pool of water o'er a pit has over- 
flowed, 

On the border of the lowland, 
Sinking in the lowlands low. 

It is said that spirits hover o'er the green unhealthy 

scum, 
And that water witches gather here to brew in- 
fernal rum, 
That deep below the surface many bones are lying 
dumb, 

From the flooding of the lowlands, 
Sunk into the lowlands low. 

By the tidal river bounded, to or from the ocean 

sweeping, 
An artificial levee held the land in safer keeping, 
When the tide came breaking through it, there 
was misery and weeping, 

'Mid the settlers of the lowland, 
Toiling in the lowlands low. 

It was here that Benny Rowland built a tiny little 

cot, 
And reclaimed a goodly portion of a twenty-acre lot, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA l6l 

Till the sea came madly rushing o'er the well- 
remembered spot, 

Bringing ruin to the lowlands, 
And mourning in the lowlands low. 

A narrow path goes winding by the oak and up 

the hill, 
Through a tangling of undergrowth, where all is 

calm and still, 
Save the trickle of some garrulous, but limpid lit- 
tle rill, 

Running down into the lowlands, 
To sink in the lowlands low. 

Grassy banks on either side where violets thickly 

grow, 
Or the dainty primrose clusters, where the sum- 
mer breezes blow, 
Here there ran a noisy brooklet, in the ages long 
ago, 

To the marshes of the lowlands, 
To mingle in the lowlands low. 

Down the levee from the village, one fine morning 

bright and fair, 
Came old Benny Rowland's daughter, with the 

shining raven hair, 
To the oak tree by the haunted pool, to meet her 
lover there, 

For a journey through the lowland 
To the pastor of the lowlands low. 



1 62 SEA RHYMES 

Some idle scandal monger with a tongue of ve- 

nomed talent, 
Belied the bo'sun sorely as an evil-meaning gal- 
lant. 
Her father had insulted him, which turned the final 
balance 
For a wedding in the lowlands, 
In the chapel of the lowlands low. 

They met and fondly wrestled to prolong the 

salutation, 
Which circumstance appeared to enhance the situ- 
ation, 
While the birds were piping joyously, with subtle 
penetration, 

Of the drama in the lowlands, 
Enacted in the lowlands low. 

Thro' the wood they went together, where the 

sunlight flashes brightly, 
Thro' the leaves which rustle o'er, as the fairies 

whisper quietly, 
Where the bluebell and the hyacinth are flirting 
somewhat tritely, 

In the shadows of the lowland, 
On the border of the lowlands low. 

O'er a style of rude construction, down a lane of 

leafy hedges, 
Where fragrant honeysuckle or the wiry bramble 

wedges ; 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 63 

O'er a bridge, across a weedy swamp, of rushy 
growing sedges, 

Draining over to the lowland, 
Straining through the lowlands low. 

By the spring of magic virtue, ever cool and lim- 
pid dripping, 
Which insures the fond enamoured ones from 

accidental slipping. 
They honor the tradition by a momentary sipping, 
Then hurry to the lowlands, 
To marry in the lowlands low. 

Past the wayside inn, where carven in the stone 

above the door, 
In the olden English lettering, are mottoes three 

or four, 
And a crumbling glass and bottle, of the misty 
days of yore, 
When the tide was on the lowlands, 
Or ebbing from the lowlands low. 

Up a hill and down another, where the grain was 

greenly waving, 
By a clump of sturdy hemlock, where the rooks 

are ever raving, 
A colony whose twig-built homes, the wind and 
weather braving 

Have a view of all the lowlands ; 
They forage in the lowlands low. 



1 64 SEA RHYMES 

To the chapel on a hillock, and a tiny cottage ris- 

ino* 
Here the silver-haired old prophet did the week- 
ly sermonizing, 
Splicing lovers who were stranded, and their prog- 
eny baptizing, 

For the settlers in the lowland, 
Who labor in the lowlands low. 

He listened as the bo'sun and his sweetheart told 

the story, 
His fine old face encircled by a silver flowing 

glory, 
Then he read the marriage service, from his ancient 
repertory, 

And he blessed them in the lowland, 
As they left him in the lowlands low. 

The newly wedded lovers while the day was at its 

best, 
Took the turnpike o'er the highland, but remained 

awhile to rest, 
In a little wayside cottage, quaint with old-time in- 
terest, 

On the borders of the lowland, 
Which overlooks the lowlands low. 

An ancient couple hobbled on the yellow sandy 
floor, 

Their rosy wrinkled faces with a welcome brim- 
ming o'er, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 165 

For the happy-looking pair, in the little candy store, 
Where urchins of the lowlands, 
Squandered pennies of the lowland low. 

Here the bo'sun bought a package, of an infinite 

variety, 
And every youngster met that day, received a 

fair moiety, 
Probably considered as a fad of high society 
When visiting the lowlands 
By the people of the lowlands low. 

They wandered in the garden, which was gay with 

many flowers, 
Where the good old gaffer labored to the limit of 

his powers, 
Admired the vines and roses on the funny little 
bowers, 
And the honey of the lowlands, 
Gathered in the lowlands low. 

They were shown three generations of a sleek do- 
mestic pussy, 
A grandam and her daughter, who were purring 

proudly fussy, 
As they suckled seven kittens, each a bold ma- 
ternal hussy, 

But a feline of the lowlands, 
The rovers of the lowlands low. 

In the huge old-fashioned oven, now disused for 
many a year, 



1 66 SEA RHYMES 

They had found two healthy litters squeaking hun- 
grily and clear ; 
The youngest generation was the one they chose 
to rear, 

For the terror of the lowlands 
Are vermin from the lowlands low. 

How the dim old eyes did flicker as they bared 

their toothless gums, 
While the fluffy little midgets hunted friskily for 

crumbs, 
And they stared at the payment for the purchased 
sugar plums, 

That the children of the lowlands 
Might be merry in the lowlands low. 

Backward looking when they parted, where the 

roof showed red and hollow, 
The jutting eaves a shelter for the mortared nest 

of swallow, 
When the old folks waved a towel while their dim 
old eyes could follow 

Down the highway of the lowlands, 
Skirting by the lowlands low. 

A cut across a meadow and a pathway by a wood, 
Where sleek, contented cattle chew a philosophic 

cud. 
Little recking of the future and the shedding of 
their blood 

By the butchers of the lowlands, 
Who prosper in the lowlands low. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 67 

Peering in the forest glades for vaguely cherished 

risk, 
Where long-eared rabbits rustle and the squirrels 

keenly whisk, 
And pigs as black as Erebus alternate root or frisk, 
As they ramble to the lowlands, 
Or wander in the lowlands low. 

They startle in a scamper, and a headlong rushing 

crackle — 
The nose of every porker there is innocent of 

shackle — 
But a monster boar opposes a formidable obstacle 
To the pair from the lowlands, 
United in the lowlands low. 

His face is long and massive, and his nose is broad 

and blunt, 
His ears are prodigious and nearly meet in front, 
And gleaming yellow tushes emphasize a warning 
grunt 

From the monarch of the lowlands, 
Who wallows in the lowlands low. 

They leave him to his dignity beneath the spread- 
ing beech, 
Which was better manifestly for the happiness of 

each, 
For a newly married couple or a boar are hard to 
teach, 

Be it either in the lowlands 
Or other than the lowlands low. 



1 68 SEA RHYMES 

They clamber o'er another stile, and out across the 

moor, 
The manor lies between them and the tidal river 

shore, 
Beyond is seen the village, with the belfry rising 
o'er: 

Their visit to the lowlands, 
Recorded in the lowlands low. 

Part Four. 

Benny Rowland had arisen with the lark 
To arrange for the business of the day, 
And he strode down the street with an echo to his 
feet 
As the far horizon shone a pearly gray. 
A grand old man was Benny, tall and upright as 

a dart, 
Taciturn in manner, but withal of kindly heart. 
About an hour later on, his daughter made a start, 

For this morning ushered in her wedding-day, 
But of that she kept her counsel, she had studied 
out her part, 
And required no other prompter in the play. 

Benny labored in the smithy till the noon, 

Returning for his dinner, to the cot. 
The meal was lying ready, but phenomenally soon, 

And beside it lay an empty pewter pot. 
The maiden was not visible, and tho' an anxious 
thrill 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 69 

Made his stout old heart grow heavy, very much 

against his will, 
He reasoned that she went to gather herbs upon 
the hill, 
Which accounted for the meal not being hot, 
So he took the pewter measure down the cellarway 
to fill 
It foaming from a barrel of the best that 'could 
be got. 

Then he went to the smithy back again, 

And labored till the dusk of evening fell, 
When he casually ran into the company of Jane, 
Who had something on her mind she wished to 
tell, 
For she loved the jolly bo'sun with a love exceed- 
ing true, 
And had guessed the haunted pool to be their 

secret rendezvous, 
So vengefully she furnished Benny Rowland with 
the clue, 
Making furious ^motion in him swell; 
Yet he kept a prudent silence till the evening meal 
was through, 
And determined he would dissipate the spell. 

Marie marked the grim suspicion in his look, 
As morosely he surveyed the simple fare, 

Omitting to be merry on her merits as a cook, 
Which was something most peculiarly rare. 

Then he silently arose, and strode away into the 
night, 



170 SEA RHYMES 

Where a ragged, cloudy drift obscured Cynthia's 

friendly light 
And she waited for her husband, in an agony of 
fright, 
The rosy hue her bonny face forsook, 
While the wind arising gustily with chilly, sullen 
might 
Smote the cottage till the tiny building shook. 

But the bo'sun came precisely at the hour, 

And clasped her in a pair of loving arms ; 
The indefinable terror from that moment had no 
power 
To arouse her tender soul in wild alarms ; 
They waited till the morning showed a streak of 

livid gray, 
But the foot of Benny Rowland never sounded on 

the way. 
With sinister presentiments the wedded pair lay, 

A prey to many conscientious qualms, 
Tho' in certain hopeful intervals it moveth me to say 
That the gloomy situation had its charms. 

Then they lit the kitchen fire, and prepared 

A collation from whatever they could find, 
And made a hearty breakfast, tho' the little wife 
was scared, 
While the bo'sun seemed a trifle more resigned. 
He left her in the cottage, to report himself aboard, 
Told the captain he was married to the lady he 
adored, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 171 

And the crew with sudden ecstasy so jubilantly 
roared 
That the rhymer in a hogshead was confined ; 
But he bellowed through the bunghole of a theory 
all ignored, 
That the God of Love is veritably blind. 

The captain, like a hero, gave the word, 

And the bo'sun piped all hands for extra grog, 
The rhymer liberated that his banjo might be 
heard, 
And a holiday was entered on the log. 
Someone set his wits to work and studied out a 

plan 
To celebrate the wedding of their brother sailor- 
man, 
And schemed the biggest racket, since the universe 
began, 
Had ever graced the lowland catalogue, 
Which met vociferous applause, the novel notion 
ran 
Through the vessel like a can behind a dog. 

The captain laid a shiny stove-pipe hat 

On the capstan, and the tars went lurching 
past, 
And loaned the thriftless rhymer half a sovereign, 
so that 
He might muster with the " men " before the 
mast ; 
Every sailor told the girl, who told a dozen more, 



172 SEA RHYMES 

Who made their sweethearts agitate the enter- 
prise ashore. 
The village school was voted, till the great event 
was o'er, 
While contributions came in thick and fast. 
A grand piano standing in a corner of the floor 
Was the mite a charming widow lent the ball- 
room at the last. 

The steward and the chef for once agreed, 

And evolved a rather lavish bill of fare, 
Laid out nicely in the infant school, against the 
time of need, 
And the exhibition made the people stare. 
The sailors scrubbed the boards of the floor clean 

and white, 
Then waxed-and-turpentined until it glistened won- 
drous bright ; 
Flags festooning gayly hid the bare walls from 
sight ; 
All the sailors clad in uniform were there ; 
While a host of Chinese lanterns furnished many- 
colored light, 
And the tars were well instructed not to swear. 



A wagon-load of flowers and evergreens, 
Whiskey, brandy, gin, and ginger-pop, 

Lemonade and sandwiches, with Boston pork and 
beans, 
The contributions never seemed to stop ; 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 73 

The infant school invaded by the trestle-work and 

chairs 
Set with great diversity of many-fashioned wares, 
Bonbons, fruit and flowers, still arriving up the 

stairs, 
Borrowed, begged, or purchased at the shop, 
The jolly sailors waiting on the throng that capered 

there 
In the intervals between each lively hop. 

A piano made the music echo grand 

When persuaded by the village organist ; 
Young Harold, with an old Cremona fiddle, smil- 
ing bland, 
Swayed the dancers by the cunning of his wrist. 
The village in its Sunday garb had entered in the 

fun, 
The sailors showed their sweethearts how the fig- 
ures should be done, 
One universal grin among the dancers seemed to 
run, 
E'en the spinsters were most liberally kissed ; 
And the captain's nose grew redder as he glorious- 
ly spun, 
Till a drop of perspiration on it hissed. 

The dominie was capering with glee, 

The sexton grew hilarious for once ; 
The choristers, conspicuously out upon the spree, 

Were flirting with refreshing eloquence ; 



174 SEA RHYMES 

The aged people gazing on the scene of whirling 

vanity, 
Occasionally stricken by a species of insanity, 
One wild phantasmagoria of chuckling humanity, 

Where no one but a cripple was a dunce ; 
A big bass viol droning with a musical urbanity, 

Or guffawing in short delirious grunts. 

There might have been a famine in the land 

By the way in which the dainties disappeared, 
And a corpulent old lady with a bottle in her hand 

Was said to be phenomenally cheered ; 
Then the landlord of the Anchor sang a free and 

easy song, 
With sly gesticulation and exposure of the tongue, 
And the cheering when he finished was uproar- 
iously long ; 
Then the rhymer, who was moderately beered, 
Sang the favorite Old Shandy with a chorus wild 
and strong, 
And the general effect was something weird. 

After finishing the vocal exercise, 

The captain of the vessel made a speech, 
When he said the large attendance was a heavenly 
surprise, 
That his heart was full of more than he could 
preach ; 
Then alluded to the bo'sun's hurried wedding as 

the cause 
Of this tribute to the little god, of omnipresent laws, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 75 

When involuntary rapture opened wide the public 
jaws, 
And they cheered in an ear-splitting screech. 
So the skipper, much elated in his spirit, had to 
pause, 
Aware that his voice would never reach. 

When the cataclysm of ecstasy had died, 

He professed an ardent passion for the sex, 
Their beauty paralyzed him with a paroxysm of 
pride, 
As he wiped a furtive tear from his specs ; 
Said Memory would evermore cherish this event, 
Thanking one and everybody for accommodation 

lent. 
Then he called upon the bo'sun, as the time was 
nearly spent. 
But a queer fact transpired to perplex — 
The bo'sun was not there, no one saw him as he went, 
But his absence was an incident to vex. 

A few old people made a short address, 
The final anthem sung by one and all, 
And the school-room was deserted in a twinkling 

or less, 
Wending homeward as the couples chanced to 

fall. 
The rhymer saw his charmer to her door safe and 

sound, 
Making love with desperation, o'er the intervening 

ground, 



176 SEA RHYMES 

Who granted him permission, when his fortune 
came around, 
To marry her — the privilege was small. 
And the twitter of the sparrows was the most 
resonant sound 
In the dawning of the morning of the ball. 

Early in the night the bo'sun left, 

For Marie's anxious fears made him sad, 
Her father's disappearance made her feel as if bereft 

Of the only real friend she ever had ; 
And that morn a local farmer, as he passed the 

haunted pool, 
To take away some ware he had loaned the vil- 
lage school, 
Fished a hat from off the surface, which he carried 
like a fool 
To the cottage, leaving Marie nearly mad, 
For she knew it by the accidental branding of a 
tool, 
Which left the matter looking very bad. 

The neighbors, sympathizing with her grief, 

Formed a party to investigate the case. 
So they dragged the stagnant water, and their 
search was very brief, 
Ere they saw poor Benny Rowland's livid face. 
A bullet-hole above the ear was noticed in his 

head, 
So before he struck the water he was evidently 
dead. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 77 

They reverently carried him and laid him in a shed, 
After washing from his form all muddy trace, 

And a hoary-headed fisherman a deputation led 
Who broke the news to Marie with a tender- 
hearted grace. 

The sergeant prowled around the hollow trunk, 

Discovering a recent trace of fire 
About a narrow aperture that whimsically sunk 

Through the shell, 'twas partly hidden by a briar; 
'Twas an easy feat to enter from the opening in the 
fork, 
Branches jutting out up which 'twas possible to 
walk 
Like a ladder ; at the bottom one could hear out- 
siders talk, 
By the slits, if anyone should so desire, 
The knotty-grained interior, left nothing more to 

balk 
The exit or the entry of an unsuspected spier. 

The coroner impanelled fishermen 
To form a legal jury, and they found 

A verdict that the body from the basin of the fen 
Had been murdered by a bullet, also drowned. 

Over Marie's bitter sorrow I will draw a kindly 
veil, 

As she mourned o'er the features gleaming rigidly 
and pale, 

For somehow words are feeble to relate the touch- 
ing tale 

12 



178 SEA RHYMES 

Which hangs about the ivy-covered mound, 
Where for many days and nights there came an 

eerie, lonely wail, 
From the throat of Benny Rowland's faithful 

hound. 

In the village, for a fortnight and a day, 
The popular excitement was intense ; 
And the finger of suspicion seemed to point the 
bo'sun's way, 
Sustained by circumstantial evidence. 
His foot-marks were measured all about the hollow 

oak, 
And the day before he vanished there were words 

in anger spoke, 
When the witnesses remembered how the bo'sun 
seemed to choke, 
When taxed with some mysterious offense, 
And a surgeon proved the bullet, with a calm vin- 
dictive croak, 
To be fashioned by no English implements. 

For it fitted a revolver Jane produced, 

From the room wherein he usually slept, 
With a chamber lately emptied, that was owned by 
the accused ; 
This the council of inquiry wisely kept. 
So the sergeant with a warrant for immediate ar- 
rest, 
On a charge of wilful murder, by the document 
expressed, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA Ijg 

Went a hunting for the bo'sun, with a feeling in 
his breast, 

That no error in their logic could have crept. 
Marie's tale was credited to wifely interest, 

And 'twas hinted there was reason why she wept. 

His lordship was not home about that time, 

And no one was aware of his address ; 
'Twas a call of urgent business, so the story of the 
crime 
Could have only met his notice through the press. 
The evening he went away the murdered man was 

seen, 
His lordship shortly afterward had crossed the 

village green, 
To the railway ; so the sergeant to the nearest town 
had been, 
The necessary warrant to possess. 
If his lordship had been home his proper function 
would have been, 
As a justice, to have done it, and assist them more 
or less. 

The rhymer went to Marie with a note, 

And she told him of the peril-laden cloud ; 
Her eyes were dim with weeping, so he read the 
message wrote, 
And reported the affair to the crowd. 
Incipient rebellion was born among the crew, 
Who scouted the idea that the charge could e'er 
be true ; 



l80 SEA RHYMES 

They swore to back the bo'sun, till they took the 
vessel too ; 
With adjectives profanely uttered loud. 
The captain gained an inkling of the storm about 
to brew, 
As they went about their duties, heavy browed. 

Then Marie came aboard for awhile, 

And they held a conversation when they met. 
She handed him a bundle, with a melancholy smile, 

And their parting was a moment to forget ; 
She had brought her father's clothing for the fugi- 
tive to wear, 
When he found it safe to meet her, by the haunted 

water, where 
The murder was committed, none would pry upon 
them there — 
The innocent have nothing to regret. 
At eleven in the evening she would wait a sudden 
flare, 
Of a lucifer extinguished after quickly flashing jet. 

The captain pondered long upon the news 

And listened to the bo'sun's bonny bride, 
Resolving to assist them by a very simple ruse, 
For he had the moorings dropped from off the 
side. 
Repairs were now completed and the crew were all 

aboard, 
The tanks were full of water, and provisions safely 
stored, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA l8l 

The sails were loosed and sheeted home, the zeph- 
yrs gayly poured, 
And they sailed down the river with the tide, 
While a much bediddled sergeant on a jetty vainly 
roared, 
Looking anything but calmly dignified. 



The banks widened outward as they went, 
They sailed like a witch across the bay ; 
But they had to drop their anchor, for the lucky 
wind was spent, 
When the bo'sun pulled ashore, and ran away. 
The intercepting cruiser searched the vessel fore 

and aft; 
The captain met them kindly with a well-dissem- 
bled craft ; 
But they left the vessel baffled, and the skipper 
suavely laughed, 
Inviting them to call another day. 
Then he made the rhymer bo'sun, whom the sailors 
slyly chaffed, 
For the bo'sun's pipe is difficult to play. 

Marie's husband donned poor Benny Rowland's 
clothes 
Finding they were not a bit too big ; 
An artificial beard, after shaving I suppose, 

An iron-gray mustache, and bushy wig, 
And the sharpest-eyed detective in the city would 
not guess, 



1 82 SEA RHYMES 

That the venerable yeoman, in the evening ex- 
press, 
Was a fugitive from justice ; neither that he could 
possess 
Any coin in that dingy battered rig. 
The skipper had provided him with money in ex- 
cess 
Of what was justly due him from the brig. 

He quietly hired lodgings in a little wayside inn, 

Half a dozen miles across the moor, 
Where he waited for a day or two, before he dared 
begin 
To ramble down toward the river shore. 
One night he visited the oak, and in a narrow rift 
Inside the hollow trunk he found a note, and 

hurried swilt 
To his lodging, where he gathered from the in- 
coherent drift, 
Of seeming empty phrases scribbled o'er, 
That pursuit was reckoned hopeless, and she looked 
for him to lift 
The load from off her spirit, troubled sore. 

He answered in an enigmatic key, 

In case it chanced to fall in other hands, 
So that nothing should be known by any other one 
than she, 
That her husband had not fled to other lands. 
And Marie walking daily where her father met his 
death, 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 83 

Found the scrawl and read the meaning with a 

catching- of the breath ; 
For her faith was of the quality which never waver- 
eth, 
And she longed for the clasp of loving hands ; 
Heeding little what the lawyer, or the sage old 
sergeant saith, 
Her instinct being all she understands. 

Part Five. 

The lord of the manor was young and bold, 
And he lavished his ancestor's hoarded gold, 
Till the coffers were dwindling lower and lower; 
So he cudgelled his wits to produce some more. 
Mine host of the Anchor, the lawyer, and he, 
Had joined in a treacherous gang of three 
And woe to the gallant who went their way, 

For he came out lame 

From a desperate game, 
Which frequently happens at play. 

They noted the weight of the bo'sun's purse, 
And the lord of the manor by tricks diverse, 
Inveigled him into their cosey den, 
To meet his associate sporting men ; 
Who found with a feeling of blank dismay, 
That the bo'sun had never known how to play. 
But they cleverly made it a jocular theme, 

And he chose to remain 

With the beautiful Jane, 
Who was lost in a perilous dream. 



1 84 SEA RHYMES 

The lawyer had captured a casual friend, 
Who was gently gulled as a great godsend : 
He wagered his money with cheerful heart, 
For a fool and his property ought to part ; 
The morn was beaming in streaks of gray, 
'Ere the revellers, rising, reeled away, 
When the lawyer advanced the plucked pigeon a 
sum, 

With a generous air 

To purchase his fare, 
And speedy return by the road he had come. 

And the bo'sun crossing the river climbed 
The gangway ladder, as clearly chimed 
The hour of five, and the pipe rang shrill, 
When the tars turned to, with a cheery will. 
His lordship, merrily jesting, went 
To the bo'sun's room, with serene content. 
Arising late, when he chanced to find 

A revolver placed, 

With forgetful haste, 
On a window-sill under the blind. 

A handsome weapon of foreign make ; 
So his lordship borrowed it, more to take 
A shot as he rambled across the moor, 
At a rabbit to see how it tumbled o'er. 
But Jane diverted his first intent, 
By saying the blacksmith's daughter went 
To the haunted pool, in the eventide. 

The artful miss 

For the bo'sun's kiss, 
Left never a scheme untried. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 85 

She noted his anger with great relief, 
Believing her rival would come to grief; 
Knowing his lordship willing to pay 
For removing an obstacle out of his way ; 
His lordship, however, preferred to see 
For himself, so he hid in the hollow tree, 
Where a crevice had furnished an outlook fair, 

On any who strayed. 

And here he made 
An excellent watch for the innocent pair. 

That night he waited, without success, 
For Marie was suffering great distress, 
While the voice of her father in anger strong, 
Was accusing her lover of treacherous wrong ; 
Who listened with never a harsh reply, 
But a furious glint in his resolute eye. 
Then he met poor Marie with heart downcast, 

And the lovers agreed, 

With a wondrous speed, 
To be wed ere the following night was past. 

On the wedding night in the hollow tree, 

His lordship waited patiently. 

The blacksmith hurrying thro' the night, 

By the haunted pool arrived all right ; 

A murderous slowly formed idea, 

In his lordship's mind arising clear. 

If the bo'sun's revolver were picked up near 

Where the bo'sun died, 

'Twould be suicide, 
And he had the revolver here. 



1 86 SEA RHYMES 

If he missed his aim, 'twas a jest to scare, 

Who he thought was the bo'sun waiting there ; 

Who probably would not care to wait, 

In such an event, to investigate. 

The moon was hidden in cloudy drift, 

But he took good aim from the narrow rift, 

Which steadied his sight on the shadowy head. 

A deafening bang 

In the silence rang, 
And the blacksmith fell in the pool stone dead. 

Half in the rushes arising rank, 

Where a fagot had drifted against the bank ; 

So his lordship gave him a vigorous shove, 

As a break in the clouds that careered above, 

Illumined the scene with a ghastly glare, 

When he saw who it was he had murdered there 

And a picture was graven deep into his brain, 

Fated never to fade, 

Till his body was laid, 
Not far from the grave of the man he had slain. 

He floated out with his face thrown back, 
On the drifted cushion of floating wrack, 
As the fugitive beam of moonlight flew 
O'er the face besplashed with a crimson hue. 
On the long gray beard and the grinning teeth, 
E'er the corpse sank silently down beneath ; 
And his lordship glared at the horrible scene, 

Then into the wood, 

O'er rocks and mud, 
He wildly rushed to the village green. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 87 

'Twas deserted (the hour of eleven had struck) 
Which he hailed as a token of excellent luck ; 
Into the Anchor, and rang the bell, 
Where brandy steadied his conscience well, 
The weapon replaced where he found it first, 
For he shunned it now as a thing accurst ; 
Carried a bag to the midnight train, 

Staying away 

For a week and a day, 
Since the outlawed bo'sun returned again. 

His looks had suffered a marvellous change, 

His manner was moody, and oftimes strange, 

When the lamps were lit, if his eyes would close 

The ghastly vision at once uprose ; 

So he dranked and smoked till the break of day, 

When the dire delusion passed away, 

Which haunted the night with a horrible dread. 

When the sunlight fell, 

He would breakfast well, 
Then he slept in the absent bo'sun's bed, 

The window commanded a splendid view 

Of the haunted pool, and the river too. 

Each night he would peer at the stagnant mere, 

Impelled by a feeling of mortal fear, 

For every night as eleven clashed, 

By the haunted water a bright light flashed, 

Like the sudden gush of a pistol flame ; 

But floating back, 

No whip-like crack, 
To his listening ears came. 



1 88 SEA RHYMES 

One moonlit night, in a frenzied state, 

He hurried forth at a headlong gait, 

For it seemed to his highly distempered mind, 

That a million demons pursued behind. 

Disguised in a long, black, hooded cloak, 

He rushed to the haunted pool and oak, 

And there on the edge of the loathsome flood, 

With a smile so weird, 

And the long gray beard, 
The ghost of the murdered blacksmith stood. 

And the grisly arms in a vengeful clutch, 

Encircled his waist, with a rigid touch, 

A shuddering groan, and a maniac yell, 

His lordship downward heavily fell, 

And the phantom bending never spoke, 

But tore off the shrouding long black cloak, 

When the breeched extremities plainly showed, 

And the short cut hair, 

To a Gorgon glare, 
When a baritone voice said, "Well, I'm blowed." 

Twas the cloak which misled the bo'sun's glance, 

For Marie had bought by a singular chance 

A similar garment, hooded too ; 

The srrass had deadened the heavier shoe, 

So he gave the figure a fond embrace, 

With a glistening smile on his bearded face, 

But the agonized howl in the silent night, 

And his lordship's swoon, 

By the light of the moon 
Made the bo'sun continue, " Well, blow me tight." 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 1 89 

Over his shoulder like a sack, 

The bo'sun carried him halfway back ; 

When Marie came tripping along so gay, 

Humming a rustic roundelay ; 

Wiho, before the bo'sun had time to speak, 

Gave vent to a vigorous female shriek ; 

And the crew of a schooner stranded near, 

Came tearing along 

To right her wrong, 
All chock full of valor and beer. 

They gathered around with a threatening air 
Demanding the bo'sun's business there ; 
But his lordship awoke, and began to rave 
Of a man he had shot, who had left his grave. 
Then the bo'sun, in Benny Rowland's dress, 
Sepulchrally ordered him to confess, 
And the crew of the schooner all could swear, 

To the gruesome tale 

Which the trembling, pale, 
And cowardly villain unfolded there. 

It never occurred to the terrified wretch, 

That his neck on the gallows would probably stretch, 

Till they came to the Anchor and surged inside, 

With the story of how the blacksmith died. 

In the bo'sun's room he began to think, 

But he steadied his palsied nerve by a drink, 

And the lock as it sprung with an ominous click, 

Told a sinister tale. 

Of the county jail, 
So the murderer made up his mind right quick. 



IQO SEA RHYMES 

His dressing-case lay on a closet shell, 
For the furbishing up of his valued self 
After bibulous nights in the secret game, 
And he peered therein by the candle's flame. 
Certain documents took and burnt, 
But what their nature could ne'er be learnt, 
And a razor of genuine Sheffield blade, 

Exceedingly keen, 

With a shadowy sheen, 
Beneath his pillow he carefully laid. 

From a delicate phial of morphine pills, 
Provided to settle his nervous ills, 
Deliberate counting a threefold dose, 
For his instinct told him the end was close ; 
Then closing the lid of the toilet-case, 
He lifted it back to its usual place, 
And his teeth set tight in a vicious snap. 

From sheer despair, 

Grown devil-may-care, 
He silently grinned like a rat in a trap. 

He stripped himself with unusual speed, 
Got into bed, which was strange indeed, 
Finished the brandy and swallowed the drug, 
And settled himself in the pillow snug, 
With a twist of the head till the jugular vein, 
In the soft white muscle was beating plain, 
His left hand holding the gleaming wedge, 

To the delicate skin, 

With a dreamy grin, 
That a soul should ride on a razor's edge. 



LEGEND OF THE TIDAL RIVER LEA 191 

When the eyelids fell with a nerveless droop, 
He made one feeble convulsive scoop 
And a neat little nick in the sanguine duct, 
While a curious noise in his windpipe clucked, 
A shower of viscous crimson rain, 
Went spurting out o'er the counterpane, 
And his worthless soul winged out to well, 

'Tis a bigoted haste, 

And atrocious taste, 
To blather where any poor soul shall dwell. 

The sergeant returned from the nearest town 
With a warrant galloping hastily down, 
For the lord of the manor was magistrate, 
Which left the law in a ticklish state ; 
But the justice had, in an abstract sense, 
Done justice, free from the vast expense 
Entailed by the common judicial sieve, 

And the legal cliques 

Of quibbling tricks 
Who manage by hook or by crook to live. 

One good action, however, they did, 

They found at the manor a document hid, 

Which proved that a marriage had taken place 

'Twixt the last of his lordship's reckless race, 

And the fisherman's daughter. Who thus became 

A highly respected and envied dame. 

But she sent for the rhymer from over the seas, 

And the singular pair, 

Were united there ; 
So his banjo plunks 'mid the grand old trees. 



192 SEA RHYMES 

Finding his lordship cold and stiff, 

The sergeant went with a dubious sniff, 

And finding the bo'sun down below, 

He served the old warrant of which you know. 

But the judge annulling the unjust ban, 

The bo'sun became a most popular man, 

And that night ere he slept in the blacksmith's cot, 

His wife and he 

Had the jolliest spree, 
For the village apologized on the spot. 

The smithy a capital warehouse made, 

For a perfectly legal but scaly trade ; 

His progeny toddles along to school, 

Or go, which is wrong, to the haunted pool, 

To cast a stone at the hollow tree, 

Now full to the top, as it ought to be, 

For the gloomy feeling the place inspired. 

And a favorite mark, 

On the gnarled old bark, 
Is the rift where the fatal shot was fired. 

And whither the Yankee vessel sailed, 
Is a dubious point, where records failed. 
The far-away port from whence she came, 
Her tonnage, and gunnage, or Christian name, 
Are gone with a glamour of mystery 
Deep into the bowels of history. 
The exact date of the famous ball 

Even, cannot be found, 

Which furnishes ground, 
For a guess that I possibly dreamed it all. 



Price, 50 cents 

SEA RHYMES 



ERNEST WRIGHT 



CONTENTS 

i. Digger's Luck 

2. honeywells 

3. Legend of the Tidal River Lea 



COMPLETE STORIES 



NEW YORK 

TROW DIRECTORY, PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING CO. 

201-213 East Twelfth Street 

1894 



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